Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
Fernley’s passion play of a final effort came up 1.3 seconds and one whistle short last Thursday in the first round of the Northern 3A League Tournament in Elko.
Elko’s Lexi Baum made one of two free throws with 1.3 seconds left, and Fernley’s last second desperation shot didn’t go in, as Elko eliminated Fernley from the postseason with a 52-51 win.
“The whole team was awesome,” coach John Rogers said. “I couldn’t be happier with their performance and it was a pleasure to coach them this season.”
Baum’s free throw capped a tense fourth quarter, in which Fernley rallied from a 42-34 deficit to lead 51-48 with less than two minutes left.
Fernley scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter to take a 45-42 lead, with key baskets by Hailee Edgar and Brittney Gaitan and a 3-pointer by Jaiden Sullivan. Three more times Fernley led by three, at 47-44, 49-46, and 51-48.
Elko’s Alexis Elquist tied the game at 51 with a 3-pointer.
Fernley had the ball with the chance to win, and set up Gaitan with a good shot attempt with 5 seconds left, but she couldn’t score, and in the aftermath, the Vaqueros were called for a foul with 1.3 seconds left.
“End of the game we had the ball and had Brittney with a good shot attempt with 5 seconds left but the situation didn’t go well,” Rogers said. “Brittney did everything right, she was just compromised.”
Edgar lead the Vaqueros with 16 points and Gaitan added 15.
“Hailee was dealing with a bad swollen and bruised knee and she gutted it out and gave it everything she had in her final game for the Vaquero basketball program,” Rogers said. “She will be missed greatly.”
Fernley started the game strong and led 13-6 at the end of the first quarter, and after falling behind in the second quarter, recovered to lead 26-24 at the half. Elko closed the third quarter with a 15-4 run to take the 42-34 lead to the fourth quarter.
Rogers said it was an extremely gutty effort by the Vaqueros.
“Celeste (Condie) and Jaiden were also dealing with bad foot injuries which limited them, but they also put their heart on the line and were warriors,” Rogers said. “Ellie Kingston stepped up early as well and hit a couple jumpers in the first half. Brittney was a beast inside and they couldn’t stop her.”