Fernley girls take aim at first state championship

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

After their hopes of a second consecutive regional championship slipped through their hands in a rough third quarter last Saturday, the Fernley High School girls basketball team takes aim at its first ever state title this week at Lawlor Events Center.

The Vaqueros enter the state tournament as the North No. 2 seed and will face Moapa Valey at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Moapa Valley won the Southern 3A Desert League, then beat Pahrump 29-26 last Friday night in the Southern 3A championship game. Pahrump will face Lowry at 12:20 p.m. Wednesday.

The Vaqueros are coming off their second loss of the season in the regional final to Lowry, 82-71 last Saturday afternoon in Eko.


Lowry outscored the Vaqueros 28-11 in the third quarter, capitalizing on several uncharacteristic Fernley turnovers.

“It’s a game of runs, and they had a really good third quarter and that kind of put us away,” coach Ralph Dunn said. “We had too many unforced turnovers. We just threw the ball away.”

The Vaqueros entered that third quarter with a 36-35 lead, and were up 40-38 when Lowry went on a 17-2 run. Lowry went up by as much as 20, at 71-51 with 4:51 left in the game, but Fernley went on a 8-0 run, and then a 7-0 run, to get back within 75-66 with 1:16 left in the game. The Vaqueros got as close as 77-71 on a 3-pointer by Taylor Tollestrup with 32 seconds left in the game, but Lowry went 5-6 from the free throw line as the Vaqueros were unable to hit a shot in the final half minute.

Afterward, Dunn blamed himself for not using a time out to try to stop Lowry’s run in the third quarter.

“I didn’t really want to call a time out but I should have,” he said. “I use them for the end of the game. I told the girls it was my fault in that third quarter for staying too long in that zone.”

Jasmyne Torres led the Vaqueros with 24 points and Jaelese Wasson added 23.

The Vaqueros punched their ticket to State Friday night with a 61-40 win over Fallon. They outscored the Greenwave 15-0 in the first quarter and were never threatened, eventually leading 20-0 before Fallon finally scored. Fernley led by as much as 33-5 before taking a 33-12 lead to the halftime locker room.

Torres scored 16 points, Wassson added 14 and Tollestrup chipped in 12.

Moapa Valley is 27-3 and was 10-0 in the Desert League, then won the regional tournament with wins over SLAM, Coral Academy of Sciences and Pahrump.

Dunn said as of Saturday he hadn’t yet seen video of Moapa Valley, but he said regardless f what kind of team the Pirates have, the Vaqueros need to play their own style of game and take care of the basketball.

“I always prepare my team for what we want to run,” he said. “I think the girls, they’re going to have their heart back and I think we’ll be fine.”

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