Déjà vu all over again: Jackson’s 3-pointer lifts Fallon over Elko for state championship

Brock Richardson, left, and Elijah Jackson, along with the Greenwave, celebrate their 3A bfs state basketball championship.

Brock Richardson, left, and Elijah Jackson, along with the Greenwave, celebrate their 3A bfs state basketball championship.

RENO — Same player. Same situation. Same outcome. Different year.

Friday’s state championship 3A boys basketball game was like “Déjà vu all over again” when it came to the final seconds.

With less than two seconds remaining in the first overtime and the score tied, the Greenwave’s Elijah Jackson leaped for a downtown 3-point shot from the sideline that guided itself through the net like a Navy missile to give Fallon a 45-42 win over Elko at the Lawlor Events Center.

The victory, which occurred in the same fashion as last year’s championship game, capped Fallon’s season with a triple crown: the regular season title, the regional crown and now the state trophy for the second consecutive year. Fallon finished the year at 23-6 while Elko dropped to 24-6.

This is the first time in Greenwave boys basketball history that Fallon has won consecutive state titles.

After Elko tied the game in the fourth quarter to send it into overtime, neither team could score a point. The Wave possessed the ball with under 30 seconds remaining in the extra period and finally took a timeout with 2.8 seconds left. Fallon coach Chelle Dalager told the players it was time to end the game.

Jackson, who finished with 21 points, inbounded the ball to point guard Anthony Geer who then quickly passed it back to Jackson along the press row sideline. Jackson took three steps to his left and unleashed a high, arcing jump shot that dropped for the game-winning points. While Jackson’s teammates led by Geer rushed across the court to hug the game’s star, the Fallon senior hustled instead to the stands to hug his stepfather.

The scenario from Friday’s game repeated itself from almost one year ago in Las Vegas when Fallon played Elko, the top team in the 3A. With the score knotted at 54, Jackson dribbled in front of the Greenwave bench, pulled back behind the arc and fired off a 3-point shot that gave Fallon its first boys basketball title since 1971.

For two consecutive years, the 3A boys championship has been a classic matchup between two comparable teams who know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Yet, it wasn’t Jackson but Geer who set the game’s tone for Fallon when he delivered a 3-point shot a minute into the game to give the Wave a 3-0 lead. Jackson missed on two 3-pointers, but his left-side layup gave the Wave a 5-0 lead. Fallon built a 7-2 lead before Elko answered with five points capped by Michael Klekas’ 3-pointer.

Both teams traded baskets from Sam Robertson and Klekas, but a premonition may have developed with seconds remaining in the quarter when Jackson released a long trey from the opposite side to give Fallon a 12-9 lead going into the second quarter.

The two teams played a cat-and-mouse game with two ties and five lead changes.

Elko took its first lead on back-to-back layups from Klekas and Ej Alvarez. Fallon’s Thomas Steele’s inside basket returned the lead to Fallon before an unguarded Sean Klekas nailed a 3-point shot. Both Jackson and Steele worked the ball down low to give Fallon a two-point lead, 20-18, with 2:15 left in the first half.

Michael Klekas, though, sunk a long trey from in front of the Fallon bench and brother Sean connected on a pull-up jump shot. Steele’s presence on defense limited Michael Klekas to 20 points.

Fallon sliced the lead to one point on Toby Anderson’s short jump shot from the right side. After Elko turned the ball over with 12 seconds left in the half and Fallon in possession, the Greenwave couldn’t get off a final shot against Elko’s pesky defense.

Elko increased its lead to four points — its largest margin in the game — within the first two minutes of the third quarter. Avery Strasdin, who had the winning shot in the regional game, scored from the right side followed by Jackson’s underhand layup to tie the score at 27. Jackson also drained a 3-point shot near the Fallon bench to give the Wave another lead, and he also sunk two free throws as the Wave pulled ahead, 32-27.

Elko’s Jake Zeller and Strasdin traded shots, but Strasdin wiggled in for another layup. Fallon led by as many as seven points after Jackson made an off-balance hook shot.

Including the last minute of the third quarter and the first five minutes of the final stanza, the Indians took the lead on an 11-2 run. Like Thursday night when Boulder City tried to mount a comeback against the Wave, Elko chipped away on consecutive baskets from the Klekas brothers and a put back bucket from Alvarez.

With Fallon leading 40-39, Dawson Dumas, who had been quiet on offense, gave Elko a two-point lead with a basket past the 3-point line.

During the final minute, Elko spread out to a four-corners offense, but Steele disrupted the Indians’ passing when he swiped the ball and fed it to Strasdin, who missed the layup. Steele moved in and put back the rebound to tie the game at 42.

Elko called a timeout with 13 seconds left to draw up the last play. The Indians inbounded the ball at midcourt, but Sean Klekas missed the rim with a long 3-pointer to send the game into an extra period.


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