Vaqueros end Fallon’s 66-game league win streak
The Fernley Reporter
FERNLEY – Fallon entered Saturday’s game in Fernley having won 66 consecutive Northern 3A league games.
The Vaqueros emphatically made sure the streak didn’t reach 67.
Celeste Condie led a balanced attack with 17 points and the Vaqueros dominated from start to finish for a 58-23 win in a game that was finished with a running clock after the Vaqueros went up by 35 points late in the third quarter.
The loss was Fallon’s first in league play since a 49-41 loss to South Tahoe to end the 2014-15 regular season. It was Fallon’s first loss to a 3A opponent since the 2016 state tournament.
“I’m glad we busted that up for them,” Fernley coach Tom Kingston said. “But they’re going to be good, they’ve got younger kids that are good.”
It was a much different Fallon team than the one that won the last three state titles. Six seniors graduated from last year’s team, and their top returning scorer, Madison Whitaker, hasn’t yet played this season because of a leg injury. Plus, the Greenwave has a first-year head coach, Kevin Wickware, replacing Anne Smith, who stepped down in May.
Wickware, though, said the team has made progress since the season-opening tournament when Fallon faced 4A schools Damonte Ranch and Reno and 2A foe Incline, a contender for the state title.
“The first quarter against Fernley showed what we’re capable of,” Wickware said “That’s a great step in the right direction. Missing the shots in the beginning, I’m sure didn’t help. It’s a great lesson. I’m glad we got (the Fernley game) early so we can grow and learn from it.”
Instead of seeing immediate results like previous seasons, Wickware said his team will have to take its lumps early but he’s confident that in mid-January, it will be a different team on the floor.
“I don’t question the girls’ effort. They give me everything every game,” he said. “We’re talking about that line we’re trying to cross. We’re waiting for it click. It’s going to take some time. Hopefully that experience will start to settle in.”
Fallon junior Addison Sandberg and senior Karlee Hitchcock led Fallon in scoring with seven, and Aisha Sharron had six. Senior Makenzee Moretto led in rebounds with seven, Hitchcock had four, and Sharron, Sandberg and junior Shaylee Fagg each had three.
Facing an in inexperienced foe that’s still trying to figure things out, Kingston said the Vaqueros wanted to get out to an early lead and not let the Greenwave gain confidence by staying close.
“That’s what we want to do,” Kingston said. “If they’re a young team, we’ve got to adjust to what they’re doing, but if they’re not adjusting, we’ll keep the pressure on.”
A 10-0 run gave Fernley a 14-2 lead with 2:13 left in the first quarter. After Sandberg hit a 3-pointer for Fallon to cut Fernley’s lead to 16-7, the Vaqueros scored the last 12 points of the second quarter and the first 11 of the third. A 3-pointer by Condie ended the run that put Fernley up 39-9.
“The first half we held them to (nine) points,” Kingston said. “Can’t ask for more than that.”
The Vaqueros ended the third quarter up 50-17, and after Alizah Lara scored the first bucket of the fourth quarter, the rest of the game was finished with a running clock.
“It’s still a work a progress, but we played extremely well,” Kingston said. “We missed a lot of shots in the first half. But other than that, get that rhythm going and we’ll be fine.”
Along with Condie’s 17 points, Karli Burns scored 10, Lara finished with 9, Willow Jacobson added 8 and Erica Kingston pitched in with 7.
Fallon traveled to Truckee on Tuesday and heads into Reno on Saturday to face North Valleys before traveling to the Bay Area for a post-Christmas tournament. League play resumes over the first weekend of the year when Spring Creek and Elko visit Fallon.
“We won’t probably be playing our best basketball until January and February,” Wickware said. “We won’t be the same team mid-January through the rest of the year.”
Fallon wins home opener over Sparks
The Lady Wave opened its home schedule with a 61-30 win over Sparks on Thursday.
Sharron led the team in scoring with 17, Moretto had 14 and junior Sam Frost added 10. Sharron led in rebounding with six, sophomore Shaylee Coldwell had five and Moretto had four.
“First game in front of the home crowd, they were nervous and it was hectic in the first two quarters,” Wickware said of his team leading by three after the first quarter and 26-14 at the half. “That’s when we broke the game open.”
Wickware said Thursday’s game helped give Fallon confidence and apply lessons learned from the Reno tournament.
“We have a lot of kids new to the varsity level,” he said. “Sparks was a good step in the right direction. It gave our kids some confidence in scoring.”