Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Many times, two steals in the middle of a third quarter might get lost in the flow of a game.
Tuesday night, they might have decided the outcome.
Fallon defeated Fernley 65-49 Tuesday night, keeping the Greenwave tied for second place in the Northern 3A with South Tahoe at 3-1, while dropping Fernley into a three-way tie for fourth place at 2-2.
It was a pair of steals on consecutive possessions that propelled a big Fallon run for a double digit lead that the Greenwave rode to the finish.
Fernley had cut Fallon’s 28-22 halftime lead to 31-30, when Fallon’s John Cokoley converted a steal and a layup. Eight seconds later, Elijah Jackson was fouled trying to score after a steal, and even though he make just one of the two free throws, the Greenwave was back up by four, 34-30. The two steals started a 12-1 run by the Greenwave that was capped by a basket by Thomas Steele that opened up a 43-31 margin.
Fernley cut the lead to eight on a steal and layup by Dario Ceresola just before the third quarter buzzer, but Fallon scored the first two baskets of the fourth qaurter, and Fernley never cut the margin to single digits.
“Towards the beginning of the fourth quarter we started making some stupid decisions with the basketball,” Fernley coach Derek Miller said. “I thought we handled the press well until then.”
Fernley came out of the halftime break with a basket by Drew Miller, a basket and a 3-pointer by Rei Robinett, a free throw by Russ Ortiz and a free throw by Ceresola to cut the lead to one.
“I thought we played three quarters of really good basketball, and then we just kind of lost our composure,” Miller said.
Steele led Fallon with 16 points, Trey Rooks added 13 and Elijah Jackson scored 12.
Ortiz and Ceresola each had 14 for Fernley, and Robinett scored 10.
The Vaqueros were playing without senior Zach Burns, who hasn’t played since spraining his ankle Dec. 21 against Yerington.
Miller said the Vaqueros are being cautious with Burns because it’s still early in league play.
He said Burns’ absence was felt mostly when Fallon pressed fullcourt.
“He’s a guy that will floor general that through, and we’ve got some younger guys that have to learn how to handle a press,” Miller said.
Fallon is tied for second place with South Tahoe at 3-1 in league play, and will play at Dayton Friday at 7:30, before hosting Lowry Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
At 2-2, Fernley is tied with Lowry and Dayton, and will host Lowry Friday at 6 p.m., then go to South Tahoe Saturday at 2:30.
The loss was Fernley’s fifth straight without Burns, and Miller is uncertain whether Burns will play this weekend.
“We got to try to right the ship and see what happens,” Miller said. “But I believe in this group and we’ll get it going. When we get everybody back, I think we’re going to be pretty tough.”