Shante' Falslev

Green Canyon’s Shante’ Falslev is The Herald Journal’s Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The three-sport athlete will play volleyball and basketball at Northwest (Wyoming) College.

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NORTH LOGAN — When talking about one of her favorite memories involving Shante’ Falslev, Green Canyon girls basketball coach Alexis Bird reflected on a preseason game against a 11-1 Westlake squad during the 2018-19 season.

Falslev, a then junior guard, came off the bench and knocked down a crucial shot in the waning seconds of her team’s gratifying 54-49 victory over the Thunder.

“She played like 12 seconds in that game, but that was a testament to me of her character and her skill,” Bird said. “She wasn’t sitting and sulking on the bench. She was in the game, even when she wasn’t physically on the floor. Her head was always in the game and she was always ready for her opportunity. When she got called upon, she did great things for us.”

This level of patience and perseverance were characteristics Falslev exhibited throughout her high school athletics career. You see, the Benson resident was a role player on Green Canyon’s basketball and volleyball teams as a junior, but she refused to let that get her down. Instead, Falslev kept plugging away and her hard work paid off handsomely as a senior.

The daughter of Suzanne and Brian Falslev broke out big time in both of her aforementioned sports during the 2019-20 academic year. For starters, she led the Wolves to the 4A state championship in volleyball and was named the Deseret News 4A MVP. A few months later, No. 22 helped propel Green Canyon to the semifinals of the state basketball tournament and earned third-team all-state honors.

Additionally, Falslev was a captain on Green Canyon’s softball team and was having a strong senior season when all spring sports were shut down due to COVID-19.

“Shante’ never gave up and she trusted in the system when she got her opportunities, whether it was her junior year or senior year,” Bird said. “... I think it’s just a great testament to the younger girls that if you keep working and you keep being a good teammate, good things are going to happen for you. I don’t ever remember a time where Shante’ was negative toward her teammates or herself or us as coaches. She didn’t use anything as an excuse. When she didn’t play much, it fueled her. Junior year she played more junior varsity than she did varsity, but I really think that Shante’ is the epitome of knowing how to be a team player.”

Indeed, it was a long, arduous journey to the top of the mountain for Falslev, but it was an extremely rewarding one.

Not only did Falslev develop into a three-sport standout, she parlayed her success from her senior year into a scholarship offer to play volleyball and basketball at Northwest College. The 5-foot-10 athlete will be moving to Powell, Wyoming, in a few weeks.

“It was really rewarding,” Falslev said when asked about having a breakout senior year. “I would say that was one of my favorite parts was seeing what you want and then working toward it, because it’s just so rewarding. Working so hard and then finally getting in the position you want to be in, you’re like, ‘Wow, I didn’t really think I’d be able to get here,’ but then once you’re there it’s just the best feeling.”

Throughout her journey, Falslev also showcased a similar work ethic work in her scholastic endeavors. Homework and class projects were always a priority for Falslev, who graduated from Green Canyon with a 4.0 cumulative grade point average and garnered academic all-state accolades in all three of her sports.

Finding the right balance between her sports, schoolwork, church, friends and family is something Falslev has always taken a great deal of pride in.

“I take a lot of pride (in it) because it takes a lot of work, especially keeping up your grades, but then also making sure you’re really putting your effort and focus on the court to have a good performance for your team and for your school,” Falslev said. “... There’s definitely a lot of late nights after games (where) I’d go like home and work on homework or study, but playing from a very young age, I think I’ve just learned how to balance my time naturally, so in high school it wasn’t too big of a deal.”

Falslev’s ability to compartmentalize her life was something that certainly caught the attention of Green Canyon volleyball coach Maddie Larsen.

“I mean, it’s really impressive,” Larsen said. “I don’t think a lot of kids can do that, but the thing with Shante’ is she’s very focused and committed on whatever she’s in, in that moment. So when volleyball season’s going on, she’s totally committed to volleyball. I never felt like I was trying to pull her in to stay focused or stay committed. She fully commits herself to whatever she’s doing in that moment and I think that’s a really great quality about her.”

For her well-rounded efforts in athletics and in the classroom, Falslev was chosen as The Herald Journal Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“There’s a lot of really good athletes in this valley, so being chosen as the female scholar-athlete of the year is just a really cool and humbling experience because only one person gets that opportunity,” she said.

In addition to being a model student-athlete, Larsen, Bird and Green Canyon softball coach Joe Astle also raved about Falslev’s character and leadership.

“She likes to play, but she cares about other people as well,” Larsen said. “You trust her and you know that she is going to leave the program the way that you want, and you know that she’s going to have her teammates’ backs, her coaches’ back. This is not a kid that you’re worried about her character. Ever.”

Bird had the opportunity to coach and teach Falslev, who was Bird’s teacher’s assistant (TA) this past academic year. Falslev spoke highly of Bird as an English teacher.

The recent Green Canyon graduate also listed Kaili Snow, Jeff Nebeker and Pam Pierson as some of her other favorite teachers at the North Logan-based school. Falslev’s favorite class at Green Canyon was Math 1050 — one of several concurrent enrollment courses she completed.

Bird thoroughly enjoyed teaching Falslev.

“Shante’ is just a phenomenal student,” Bird said. “She would always hand her assignments in on time and they just weren’t on time, they were done properly and you knew she took great pride in her work. ... She was the type of student that I could place anywhere around any student and she would excel and help them. Just a friend to all and, again, she’s just so genuine. ... Shante’ just has this light about her and she’s always smiling, and she’s just fun to be around. I’ve had the opportunity to teach and coach Shante’, which I think is very lucky. I wish every teacher had the opportunity to teach Shante’.”

Bird has fond memories of some of the “prank wars” she had with Falslev, who would occasionally cover her teacher’s classroom board with sticky notes and desk with confetti, among other things. Bird played a prank on Falslev as part of her senior gift.

“She’s serious when she need to be, but she understands life needs to be fun,” Bird said. “She works hard, but you can work hard and have fun.”

As far as basketball is concerned, arguably the biggest strength Falslev brought to Bird’s program was her versatility. Falslev is naturally a shooting guard, but she played every position but point guard as a senior.

“We were able to utilize a special team defense because of her athleticism and her long wingspan,” Bird said. “I think she grew a couple of inches between her junior and senior year.”

Bird recounted a game at the end of Falslev’s senior season against Bear River in which “I put Shante’ in at the 5 with her back to the basket, and she scored liked 20 points. She literally had practiced that position maybe a day-and-a-half at practice. ... She was willing to play wherever and do whatever for the success of the team.”

As a senior, Falslev ranked second on the team in steals and third in scoring and rebounding. She averaged 10.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals an outing for the Wolves, who went 18-6 and gave two-time reigning state champion Cedar a scare in the semifinals of the 4A tourney. Falslev poured in a career-high 22 points in a 59-55 loss to a very good Farmington team (19-3) and scored in double figures in 14 contests.

Falslev was primarily a role player until the final third of her junior campaign. As a junior, No. 22 averaged 3.7 points, 0.9 rebounds and 0.6 steals per game.

The Cache Valley native played some of her best volleyball at the end of her high school career, to the delight of Larsen. The outside hitter recorded double-doubles in two of Green Canyon’s four playoff matches and racked up 17, 15 and 17 kills, respectively, in three postseason matches. The Wolves capped off a 22-10 season with their first state championship in any sport.

The first-team all-state selection paced Green Canyon in kills (271) and aces (52) as a senior, and ranked third on the squad in digs (243). Falslev showcased her superb passing ability by receiving serve 647 times, which was 200-plus times more than any of her teammates.

Falslev was a valuable role player as a junior as she contributed with 75 kills and 87 digs.

Falslev’s competitive nature left an indelible impression on Larsen.

“I think Shante’ is a very competitive kid, which is super fun to have on a team,” Larsen said. “Every practice she was competing to win every drill and it was no surprise when Shante’ would win a drill that’s an individual drill where you’re trying to gain points, because she went in with that tenacity every time wanting to win no matter what the drill was. Those are fun kids to coach and I’m definitely going to miss having her in the gym in that regard.”

Falslev wasn’t as well known for her prowess on the softball field, but she was a two-year starter for the Wolves, who were 3-1 and playing extremely well offensively when the 2020 season was canceled.

“I have coached Shante’ Falslev since she was a freshman in softball,” Astle said. “I’ve been so impressed with her desire to be the best at what see does. She always comes with a positive attitude and has a great work ethic. She always worked hard and was always looking to better herself. She is a person her teammates looked up to and because of this she was voted team captain this past season.”

Statistics from three of Green Canyon’s games — the exception being a 26-16 triumph over West Side — can be found on maxpreps.com, and Falslev was among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category. Falslev went 5 for 9 at the plate in those three contests and contributed with five stolen bases, four runs and three RBIs.

Falslev was also one of Green Canyon’s defensive standouts.

“Shante’ played center field, where I had the most confidence in her to not only cover a lot of ground, but she also has a great arm to make plays,” Astle said. “We have been honored to have had Shante’ on our team, and her athleticism and leadership will definitely be missed.”

Likewise, Falslev will miss representing Green Canyon, although she is looking forward to starting this next chapter of her life, where she will be teammates on the volleyball court with fellow Green Canyon graduates Jacie Walker and Sabree Adams.

“I’m grateful for all of the memories I’ve had at Green Canyon,” said Falslev, who volunteered at youth basketball and volleyball camps during her high school years, and also served in youth leadership positions of her Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward. “It’s been super fun and rewarding, and I’ll miss it forever.”

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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