Robert Perea, Fernley Reporter
A split of last weekend’s games allowed the Fernley girls basketball team to maintain fourth place in the Northern 4A, heading into the last three weeks of the season.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the sweep they were looking for, and it leaves the Vaqueros with long odds of climbing into the top three for the regional tournament.
The Vaqueros lost a hotly contested game against Spring Creek Friday night, 49-46, but rebounded to beat Elko 66-54 Saturday afternoon.
Friday’s game was tight throughout. The largest lead by either team was six, with the Vaqueros holding that advantage at 14-8, and Spring Creek taking a 27-21 edge to halftime.
The Spartans won the game from the foul line, hitting 23-36 attempts, accounting for nearly half of their points, while the Vaqueros made 11-16.
“They made more free throws than we took in the game,” Rogers said. “Every time we put together a lead, they were at the free throw line. Second half, as soon as we got a 4-point, 5-point lead, they were at the free throw line.”
The Vaqueros held the Spartans to just two points in the third quarter, turning that six-point halftime deficit to a 31-27 lead with a 10-0 run to start the quarter. A 3-pointer by Jaiden Sullivan pulled the Vaqueros within 27-26 with 4:44 left in the third quarter, then Erica Kingston put them ahead with two free throws with 3:25 left in the quarter.
Spring Creek ended the run with two free throws by Caitlyn Dimick, the Spartans only points of the quarter, to send the game to the fourth with Fernley up 31-29.
Dimick made two baskets to open the fourth quarter, first tying the game, then giving the Spartans a 33-31 lead.
Willow Jacobson answered with a basket to tie the game with 5:43 to play, but Alayna Grosz connected with 5:05 left to put the Spartans back on top, 35-33.
The teams exchanged the lead four more times, before setting off a frantic finish. Sullivan quickly answered the basket by Grosz with a 3-pointer to put Fernley up 36-35 with 4:57 left in the game. Jasmine Yadeskie matched it with her own 3-pointer for a 38-36 Spring Creek lead with 4:28 left.
Katelyn Bunyard split two free throws with 3:33 left to pull within 38-37, then Celeste Condie got the lead back for Fernley with a shot from the right side to make it 39-38.
Shaylynn Yaunick made two free throws with 1:44 left to put Spring Creek ahead 40-39, and the Spartans eventually pushed the advantage to 45-39.
Condie hit two free throws with 28 seconds left, then after a free throw by Chelsea Ackerman, Condie hit another basket to pull the Vaqueros within 46-33.
Sullivan made three free throws, after being fould on a 3-point attempt, with 3.6 seconds left, to cut the lead to 48-46. Payge Walz made one of two free throws with 2.7 seconds left in the game, forcing the Vaqueros to go the length of the floor to try to tie. The inbounds pass came to Sullivan, who took one dribble and fired up a shot from about three-quarters court, which bounced off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
“I couldn’t be happier with our effort,” Rogers said.
He was frustrated, however by the foul discrepancy, and said the Vaqueros gave up too many offensive rebounds, including one on a missed free throw that allowed the Spartans to extend the lead from two to four with 33.7 seconds left.
“We didn’t do a good enough job of keeping them off the offensive rebound, and apparently we fouled too much,” he said. “We haven’t been called for as many fouls as we got called for all season long, and I don’t really see the difference in the style of play we played tonight compared to how we’ve played all season long.”
Sullivan led the Vaqueros with 17 points and Condie had 10.
Saturday the Vaqueros closed the game on a 12-4 run to eat Elko 66-54.
“Both teams shot well and neither team had a ton of turnovers,” Rogers said. “It was a fun game to coach because both teams offensively were patient and getting good looks at the basket.”
Sullivan again led the Vaqueros in scoring with 19 points and Willow Jacobson had 18.
Photos by Robert Perea
Photos courtesy Dan McGee photos