FALLON - The Greenwave's experience in bouncing back from adversity in its preseason games may be a plus in this year's Northern 4A's varsity girls basketball High Desert League race.
Down by a basket with :15 left in regulation play, the Lady Wave relied on two Liz Lewis' free throws Thursday night to tie the game at 48 and eventually won it in overtime 54-49 after Caitlin Crofts' 3-point shot bounced off the rim with time expiring at the Elmo Dericco Gym.
Fallon, 2-0 in league and 10-3 overall, played in four preseason overtime games and compiled a 2-2 record. Galena drops to 0-1 in league, 10-5 overall.
After the game Fallon coach Chelle Dalager cracked a faint smile in discussing one of her team's goals.
"We've set a goal to play in eight overtime games," she sarcastically joked.
But Dalager said the team's street ball tendencies in the second half has led Fallon to blow leads and then force the extra quarter.
Fallon took control of the overtime period after Galena's leading scorer, Caitlin Anderson, fouled out late in the fourth quarter. With the defense concentrating on shutting down the perimeter game, the Fallon offense depended on four points from Ashley Sloan and a turn around two-handed jump shot from Katarina Olivo to ice the game.
"That's a bad characteristic of this team. The offense forces a lot of shots," Dalager said. "We need the offense to work for us."
Even in defeat Galena coach Karen Friel praised her team's efforts.
"We got ourselves in a hole and Fallon's too tough of a team to come back," she said. "I credit Fallon for the way they played."
Friel said Galena came out sluggish in the first half, but the second half gave the Grizzlies some extra drive in its comeback.
Galena, though, suffered a blow when Anderson fouled out before overtime.
"Caitlin works so hard on both sides of the ball. I can't say enough about her," Friel pointed out.
Sloan, who led all scorers with 16 points, said Fallon will do anything to win a game.
"We'll do what ever we can on offense," she said.
Dalager gave credit to Sloan for her leadership and to Olivo for her shooting.
"She's (Sloan) a good leader, a leader who controls the basketball," Dalager explained. "And Olivo is strong. She has worked very hard in the off season."
Even though Fallon played another overtime game, Sloan said those close games are beginning to help now.
"Playing in overtime games has helped, but it's nerve-wracking to play in O.T.," she added.
Fallon played an inspired first half of basketball against Galena, but in the second half, the Greenwave did not execute its offense effectively and had a difficult time controlling the boards.
Fallon led by as many as six points early in the fourth quarter after Ashley Sloan's one-handed shot gave Fallon a 40-34 lead. Crofts, though, cut the lead with a 3-point shot launched from in front of the Galena bench. Alyse Iverson then rebounded the ball and put back the shot to slice the lead to one point, 40-39.
Fallon struggled on offense by not working the offense and dribbling the ball too much. After a 1:26 dry spell, Olivo made a lay-up with 4:42 left in regulation play. One minute later Fallon led by as many as five points after Olivo made her second layup of the quarter.
With Fallon leading, Crofts sunk the go-ahead basket until the Wave tied the game.
The Lady Wave jumped on the Grizzlies quickly in the first quarter taking a 9-3 lead on two baskets from Sloan. She also swished a 3-pointer to give Fallon a 12-point lead late in the quarter, 17-5.
Fallon effectively worked the inside game in the second quarter and at one point led by its largest margin of the game, 31-15, with 2:32 left in the first half.
Crofts and Langley Iverson brought the Grizzlies to within 10 points at intermission.