In a battle between Div. I-A Northern League unbeatens, a lack of consistency cost the South Tahoe girls basketball team. The Vikings fell to Fallon 55-27 on Saturday at the Blue Gym, unable to maintain a fast start and keep the Greenwave from a 13th consecutive victory to start the season.
The Lady Wave’s next game is on the road against Elko, Friday at 6 p.m.
South Tahoe (2-6, 2-1 I-A Northern) got off to the ideal start against the Greenwave, racing out to an early lead in the first quarter. A scoop shot from junior Drue Chapman put the Vikings ahead 8-1 with 2:35 left in the opening frame, as the hosts kept Fallon (13-0, 4-0) out of rhythm on offense.
Fallon coach Anne Smith said the Wave’s defense won this game for them, though they had issues in the first quarter.
“We made some adjustments, such as getting through the screens better,” Smith said. “We were too slow and South Tahoe was able to come off of the screens better and get a quick basket. That was something we worked on in practice, and in between the first two quarters that helped.”
The Greenwave’s first field goal of the game came 10 seconds after Chapman’s basket and sparked a 6-0 run. With 44 seconds left in the first quarter, Fallon freshman Lani Otuafi hit a 3-pointer which tied the game at 10.
Smith said Otuafi, who had 9 points and led in rebounds with 11, performed well for the Wave defensively and offensively though her scoring was lower than usual. Smith also commended Caitlyn Welch, who had 11 points, three steals and five rebounds which she said was impressive for a guard.
Fallon carried their momentum into the second quarter, opening with a 12-1 run to take a double-digit lead. In an eight-minute span, the Greenwave buried South Tahoe with a 23-3 extended run since the Vikings couldn’t slow the visitors while struggling offensively.
“With this team, if you look at our point spread, we had 4, 4, 10, 9, 11, 10,” Smith said. “That’s a lot of players scoring and doing something, and everybody is doing something. They know their role, and they’re taking care of their job.”
South Tahoe was held without a field goal until the last 30 seconds of the second quarter, with a jump shot from senior Bailey Barcellos cutting Fallon’s lead to 24-15.
In the third quarter, the Vikings’ struggles continued as the Greenwave pulled away. Fallon outscored South Tahoe 12-2 in the frame, with the hosts’ only points coming in two trips to the free-throw line.
The Vikings trailed by 21 points after three quarters, though their drought ended when senior Annie Buchser converted a layup with 5:10 left to make the score 44-21 before Fallon still closed out the Vikings to hand them their first league loss.
Smith said coach Michael Nieger is a good coach who threw a 1-3-1 defense at Fallon that allowed South Tahoe to compete with them in the past.
“This year I feel like we put an offense in that really is an answer to that,” Smith said. “I knew going in that that would probably be his game plan.”
LVN Sports Editor Mike Sciandra contributed to this story.