Forget about the Super Bowl.
Friday’s clash with Elko and Spring Creek is the big ticket this weekend.
After the Greenwave boys basketball team extended its winning streak to 12 on Saturday, Fallon returns home for the biggest game of the season — no, the biggest game in the history of the Elmo Derrico Gymnasium. That’s right. Friday night’s primetime battle with an old rival is a rematch from last month’s instant double-overtime classic when Elko won, 98-92, at home.
And this game is more than just determining which team will have the inside track toward the league title and top seed for the regional tournament. Friday night’s game will showcase the best offense in the state against the best defense in the league.
It will be packed. It will be loud. It will be an electric atmosphere that colleges would dream of having. There will be extra bleachers set up in front of the old wrestling room. Elko’s even bringing a pep bus to outcheer the Greenwave student section.
But can the Fallon crowd deliver?
The attendance has been increasing with each game but the student section has lacked leadership to provide a hostile environment for opposing teams. The band — a major catalyst of prep and college basketball — needs to be loud and present. It needs to be a collaborative effort with the student section, cheerleaders, band and remainder of the Fallon faithful to give the Wave the edge on Friday.
“We need that atmosphere. Elko’s bringing a pep club. They get it. They’re steep in tradition,” Fallon boys coach Chelle Dalager said. “Even in years they struggle, their community is strong-basketball. Lowry is strong-basketball. It’s just tradition.”
The Fallon crowd can make a difference this weekend. Clever chants, stomping on the floorboard and screaming during free-throw attempts need to happen for this to work.
“Our crowds are getting better,” Dalager said. “I think students, in general, including my own kids, don’t want to hang out. They don’t understand it. When our band shows up, it’s awesome. Sometimes, they’re not there. It’s sad. They’re missing out. We’re pretty fun to watch.”
It all starts with leadership. The student section, while strong in numbers, hasn’t done anything to give Fallon that true home-court advantage. The band — when it shows up or isn’t treating the game like a jazz dress rehearsal — can get the crowd going with Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll” or Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
Dalager recalled when she coached the girls basketball team in the playoffs last decade. The band was on point and loud, and several players from the boys team directed the student section — and it worked.
“I can remember that whole section up on their feet and hollering the whole game,” she said. “It felt like an NCAA Division I basketball game. It just takes leadership. That’s all. If you’re a student not in athletics at our school, you’re missing out.”
For Fallon to win the rematch with Elko, it will need to focus on adjustments from the previous meeting in addition to getting off to a hot start and keeping the foot on the medal. But the crowd, student section, band and cheerleaders can also contribute to the Greenwave’s success. Not only in Friday’s clash with Elko, but they will also be counted on in the home finale on Saturday with first-place on the line for the girls against Spring Creek.
It’s going to be a weekend to remember in the Lahontan Valley. It will be talked about for years — not weeks — to come.
Will you be there to witness history?
Fallon’s counting on it.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.