BISHOP, Calif. - Every high school basketball team out there looks for a little bit of momentum they can carry into its league schedule.
That's exactly what the Elko boys basketball team has now after romping their way to a tournament title in Bishop, Calif.
The Indians proved to be the class of the field after winning four games in three days with three of the victories coming by double digits.
"We're a young team and it was a good way to beckon in the new year," coach Chris Klekas said. "We got better each game and we learned how to handle new situations. All of them performed their roles real well. It was fun to watch."
In the championship game, Elko ran out to an early lead against Rio Hondo Prep and rode that lead to an 11-point win, 57-46 Thursday morning.
They rode to victory despite missing starting point guard, Brandon Jenkins, who was injured in the semifinal game. In his place they turned to a point guard by committee, which featured freshman Marshall Dumas, who made his first career start.
The guards did more than enough to fill in, holding off a third-quarter rally by Rio Hondo Prep and securing the title. Rio Hondo Prep cut the lead to two points in the third quarter, but was outscored by Elko 16-10 in the fourth quarter.
Nathan Klekas did most of the damage in the game scoring 18 points on seven field goals and shooting 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. Tim Meo added 12 points and Alan Honeyestewa had nine points for the Tribe, who finished with 23 field goals and shot 9-of-11 from the charity stripe.
In Wednesday's semifinal game, Elko used a big third quarter to rout Hesperia, Calif. 64-40.
Nathan Klekas once again led the Indians in that quarter scoring nine straight for the Tribe, who outscored Hesperia 20-2 in the frame.
In the second and third quarters alone Nathan Klekas had 22 of his 24 team-high points. He also pulled down 15 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Elko was plus 12 in the rebounding margin for the game.
"He had a solid game. He took over the third quarter for us," Chris Klekas said.
With Nathan Klekas getting it done on the offensive end of the court, Elko relied on its full-court pressing defense to hold Hesperia to virtually nothing in the third quarter.
Jenkins had six steals in the contest before leaving with an ankle injury.
"We picked up the pressure. We put good ball pressure on them. We got quite a few steals," Chris Klekas said.
Honeyestewa was another Indian, who created havoc on the defensive side of the floor, as well as having a good offensive day. Honeyestewa had 10 points on four field goals. Dajaun Natty added eight points and Meo had nine for Elko.
With the four-game sweep in California, Elko moved above. 500 on the year and is now 7-5. Elko now returns home where it hosts Fallon at 3:30 p.m., Jan. 7.
Fallon is 2-6 overall and has had its share of difficulties on the offensive end, where it posts only 37.9 points per game this season.