Wave basketball wins Rail City Classic
After a heart-breaking loss in double-overtime, the Greenwave boys basketball team went back to work and hasn’t looked back.
Fallon won all four games in the Rail City Classic last week, including a 67-50 win over Carlmont (Calif.) to capture its second tournament trophy of the season.
“We keep reminding them of the type of team they are. To be 12-1 this far in the season, that’s an accomplishment in itself,” Fallon coach Chelle Dalager said. “We’ve played some tougher teams. I think they had a clue when we played Elko and went into double overtime.”
Senior Thomas Steele led the Greenwave with 14 points, senior Johnny Cooley and junior Elijah Jackson each scored 12, and senior Trey Rooks added 10. Fallon, which has won five in a row since the loss at Elko earlier in December, returns home to host Dayton on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium.
Jackson, an early favorite to win the league’s MVP, and Steele, who has turned it up another level this season, were named to the all-tournament team with Jackson also getting the tournament MVP.
“It’s been very exciting. We’re just all connecting,” Jackson said about the season. “We like each other on the floor. It’s been pretty fun.
Dalager credits the team’s talent in helping the less-experienced players adapt quickly to the varsity level and for growing Steele into an underrated threat in the paint.
“When you’re surrounded by really good basketball players, it’s hard not to grow,” she said. “You can see the growth in our younger kids, too. We’re getting better as the season goes on. With Thomas, they haven’t figured out that he’s a big threat. He’s a workhorse.”
After opening the game with a seven-point lead in the first quarter, Fallon saw Carlmont open the second period with an 8-0 run fueled from a pair of 3-pointers to give the California school a 17-16 lead with 5 minutes, 22 seconds left in the half. Cooley converted an offensive rebound into points to end Fallon’s 4:19 scoring drought and retake the lead before senior Jace Harmon converted both free throws to extend the lead to 20-17.
The score continued to go back and forth late in the second quarter with Carlmont grabbing the largest lead (four points) when Carlmont scored after Jackson traveled with 42 seconds left. Senior Hayden Strasdin sunk a fade-away and converted the extra free throw after being hit on the arm and Jackson’s off-balance pass along the sideline to Strasdin on the fastbreak tied the game at 28.
“Watching these guys play yesterday, they’re a very disciplined team,” Dalager said. “We missed our first eight shots. We just weren’t playing our type of basketball. We like to run the floor and like to push the ball up. We weren’t sharing it.”
The third quarter was reminiscent of the end of the previous period before Fallon started to pull away.
Both teams traded blows with neither taking a lead larger than three points until senior David McFalls connected on the fastbreak and converted the and-1 after being fouled at the basket. Ahead 41-36, Fallon extended the lead into double digits thanks to Cooley and Steele. Cooley’s steal turned into an easy layup and Steele scored on back to back possessions to give Fallon a 47-37 advantage. Fallon ended the quarter ahead 50-36.
Carlmont couldn’t cut the lead down to single digits in the fourth quarter, getting as close as 11 points with 6:50 left in the game but Steele and Rooks helped put the game away late.
Rail City Classic Results
Semifinals: Fallon 73, North Valleys 51
Steele posted a double-double with 29 points and 14 points, Jackson scored 19 and McFalls had 12 to lead Fallon to its second win over the first-year 3A school.
Quarterfinals: Fallon 73, Antioch 59
Four scored in double figures with Steele leading the team with 19 points, followed by Cooley with 17, Jackson with 15 and Strasdin with 13. Twelve of Coolely’s points came from beyond the arc.
First round: Fallon 71, Wooster 34
Jackson led the team with 22 points and Cooley had 16 with each burying four 3-pointers.
Lady Wave wins 2 in Bay Area tournament
Fallon’s girls basketball team rebounded from an opening loss to win two-straight games in last week’s West Coast Jamboree.
Fallon lost to Leland (Calif.), 62-59, before knocking off Ukiah (Calif.), 51-47, and Notre Dame (Calif.), 55-35. Seniors Leilani and Leta Otuafi were named to the all-tournament team.
Fallon improved to 10-2 overall and will resume league play on Friday when Dayton visits. Game time is 6 p.m. at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium. Fallon is 4-0 in league and hasn’t lost to a league opponent since the 3A regional championship in 2016.