An amazing season came to a crashing close when the Fallon Greenwave ran into the defending state champions.
Spring Valley beat Fallon, 64-52, FRiday at Reno High in a girls basketball state semifinal game in Division I-A
Essence Booker, a sophomore, scored 22 points as the Grizzlies pulled away late in the third quarter. After trailing from the start, Fallon tied it at 31 with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left in the third, then got the lead, 34-32. But the Grizzlies got serious on defense and grabbed steals and turnovers to take a 41-36 lead after three quarters.
Kayla Harris, also a sophomore, added 21 points as Spring Valley advanced to play the winner of the Lowry-Faith Lutheran game at p.m. Saturday at Lawlor Events Center.
Booker said a halftime talk inspired the Grizzlies. Coach Billy Hemberger told his team to keep playing the way it did in the first half.
“(He said) play all four quarters 100 percent,” Booker said. “(Fallon) wanted it really bad, but we wanted it more.”
She said the Grizzlies watched a lot of film on Fallon, but did not alter their game plan.
Fallon coach Anne Smith said her team had opportunities to score, but the turnovers proved too costly.
Rebounding also a factor.
“We allowed them two, three four opportunities, and then we’d foul,” Smith said.
Fallon went undefeated through the regular season, then lost to Lowry last week in the Northern Division I-A title game.
Fallon returns the bulk of its team next season as just one senior, Megan McCormick, saw significant playing time. She led the Greenwave with 17 points Friday and Faith Cornmesser added 11.
McCormick said the loss was depressing, but she enjoyed the Greenwave’s great season.
“I wouldn’t trade my team for anything and we left everything out there on the floor,” McCormick said.
Fallon freshmen Leta and Leilani Otuafi play on a summer club team with Booker.
“Hopefully, the girls can learn, and next year, when they get back, it will be a little more familiar,” Smith said.
Leilani Otuafi said the loss was a heartbreaker.
“We did a lot to get to this point. Worked really hard all the way to this point,” she said.
Leta said she is not heartbroken, but she appreciated and proud making it to state.