ELKO – While the end result was the same, the Elko girls basketball team did not go down to a running clock the third time around against Fallon.
In the Division 3A North regional semifinal, the Lady Indians lost by 19 points to the defending state champs by a final score of 62-43.
The Lady Greenwave – namely junior Leta Otuafi – scored the first six points of the game.
Elko scored the next three, senior Gabe Rowley knocking down a free throw and sticking a pull-up jumper.
Junior Leilani Otuafi tallied the next four points – the second field goal on a baseline drive – and Elko turned the ball over on three straight possessions against the Lady Greenwave’s pressure.
Fallon tore up the interior of Elko’s defense with great post passing.
Senior Kaitlyn Hunter knocked down a free throw, followed by two freebies from senior Lexi Baum for the Lady Indians.
Hunter scored from a dime by Leilani Otuafi, but Elko pulled to within five at 13-8 on a three by junior Alexis Elquist.
The Otuafis booked the next four points, Leilani slithering through the defense with a filthy swim move and Leta using a ball fake to free herself.
Elko got the ball where it wanted on several possessions but could not finish or committed travels.
Freshman Madi Whitaker buried a free throw, but senior Sariah Pulley scored a put-back on the left block for the Lady Indians.
Junior Brenna Hendrix followed with another deuce from the left side, and Elquist capped a 6-0 Elko run with a midrange jumper.
Whitaker rolled through the lane for the Lady Greenwave, and Leilani Otuafi stuck a three from the left wing.
Welch scored in transition against a foul on a pass from Leta Otuafi for an And-1 and the freebie, the Lady Greenwave routinely beating Elko down the floor – Leta Otuafi running a one-person fast break for a layup and capping a 10-0 run.
Elquist nailed a two-pointer for the Lady Indians, but senior Faith Cornmesser scored on the left block from a post feed from Leta Otuafi.
With a foot on the line, Elquist ripped a long-two from the right wing, but Cornmesser hustled inside and caught the Lady Indians ball watching and grabbed an offensive board for a finish on the right block.
The final points of the half were booked by senior Lauryn Drake from the free-throw line for Elko, but Fallon led by 12 at the break at 34-22.
Elko allowed numerous boards on the first possession of the half, Fallon junior Chandler McAlexander putting in a follow-up.
Elquist remained hot – sticking a triple from the left wing – but Leilani Otuafi dialed up a three of her own in response.
After an Elko turnover, Welch scored in transition for Fallon.
Pulley banked in a shot from a tough drive down the right side, but Leilani Otuafi darted inside and grabbed an airball miss for a put-back.
Fallon led 43-27 with 2:45 remaining in the third.
Welch proved the bank stays open after 5 p.m., hitting an off-glass three from the left wing.
Hendrix hit two free throws, but Elko was gassed even though Fallon was not in its press.
Whitaker wore her blue-collar work shirt and grabbed a board in the crowd for an And-1, and McAlexander added a deuce near the end of the frame.
Fallon led 50-29 going into the fourth quarter.
Elko scored the first three points of the fourth, Drake hitting a free throw and Baum scoring from the left side with a pass from Pulley.
Welch regained a 20-point cushion with a pump-fake and pull-up, followed by a Cornmesser free throw.
Rowley cashed a three from the right wing, but Otuafi completed a three-point play with a mean drive down the left baseline – also taking another drive down the left block.
Baum hit a free throw and made a wicked spin and finish for the Lady Indians, also taking another drive down the baseline for a strong layup.
Leilani Otuafi surpassed 20 points with another finish on the fly, followed by a deuce from Pulley for Elko.
The 42nd point for Elko equaled more than the Lady Indians scored in the two regular-season meetings combined against Fallon (15 and 26).
Rowley scored her seventh point with a free throw, but Leta Otuafi notched her 13th and 14th points on a put-back.
Fallon cruised to the regional championship game with a 62-43 victory, but the Lady Indians played with effort and made the Lady Greenwave earn it – unlike each of the first two matchups.
Leilani Otuafi led all scorers with 21 points, followed by 14 from Leta Otuafi.
Welch finished in double digits with 10 points for the Lady Wave.
Elquist led Elko with 12 points – the Lady Indians gaining nine points from Baum, eight from Pulley and seven by Rowley.
ELKO – 8 – 14 – 7 – 14 – 43 Total
FALLON – 17 – 17 – 16 – 12 – 62 Total
The Lady Greenwave bounced the Lady Indians from the tournament, and Fallon will face Lowry in the regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Gymnasium.