SPARKS – Playing strong defense and gaining offensive contributions up and down the lineup, the Elko girls basketball team rolled to a 44-point, 65-21 victory over a shorthanded club Friday in Sparks.
Senior Gabe Rowley opened the scoring with a floater, followed by a put-back by senior Lexi Baum.
Senior Angelica Hurtado made a steal and went the other for Sparks’ first bucket of the game.
Hurtado cut the lead to one with a free throw, but Elko junior Alexis Elquist stepped into a three and gave the Lady Indians a 7-3 lead.
Elko’s offense went stagnant in the middle portion of the period, Sparks cutting the lead to 7-5 on a drive down the middle by junior Laree Murillo.
A free throw by junior Brenna Hendrix gave the Lady Indians an 8-5 advantage, but Hurtado dropped a tough shot and sliced the lead to one.
The Lady Indians increased their defensive pressure, turning takeaways into points.
Elko closed the first quarter on a 12-2 run.
Elquist received a friendly bounce on the rim, senior Sariah Pulley scored five in a row on a put-back and a three, followed by an old-fashioned three by Hendrix from an And-1.
Baum capped a 12-0 stretch with a pair of free throws, but Sparks gained two freebies by Hurtado from a bad foul by Elko with no time on the clock.
The Lady Indians led 20-9 after the first quarter.
Elko kept its momentum rolling to start the second, Rowley scoring from an offensive board.
Elquist notched seven-consecutive points for the Lady Indians, beginning with a long two.
She grabbed an offensive board and scored with contact – dropping the free throw – scoring another deuce after more work on the offensive glass – putting Elquist in double digits with 12 points in the first half.
Sophomore Katie Ross also collected the garbage from the glass and scored inside, junior Phoebe Fagoaga making a steal and racing to the tin for a layup.
A pair of free throws by Ross capped a 15-0 run for the Lady Indians, making the score 35-9.
Sparks went more than six and a half minutes without a point, finally notching two points on a jumper by junior Marz Aguirre.
Ross completed a 6-for-6 stint at the line with a pair from the stripe, Hurtado notching the Lady Railroaders’ third point of the period with a free throw.
To close the half, Ross nailed a jumper for her seventh and eight points of the frame.
At the break, the Lady Indians opened a 27-point advantage of 39-12.
The Lady Indians began the third with bang, Pulley immediately knocking down her second three of the game.
Junior Catherine Maldonado scored on a great feed from Hurtado, but fatigue hit the short-handed Lady Railroaders hard – fielding just six players.
Elquist nailed a long two for a 30-point lead of 44-14, but Sparks notched a circus shot after a save under its basket by sophomore Patty Estrada.
The Lady Indians went on another big run.
Rowley scored on a jumper from the elbow, Baum grabbed an offensive rebound for a put-back and Rowley turned the game into a running clock with a free throw midway through the period – Elko on top 51-16.
Drake added to the advantage with a pair of freebies for her first points, and Ross closed the frame with a 4-0 run of her own – nailing a jumper from an assist by Fagoaga and dropping a runner.
Elko ended the third quarter with a 13-0 run and took a 57-16 lead into the fourth.
Sparks earned the first points of the final frame, gaining two free throws in three attempts by Hurtado after being fouled on a triple from a dumb Elko foul – giving Hurtado 10 points in the game.
Estrada scored her second bucket of the game and gave the Lady Railroaders their 19th and 20th points of the contest, trailing by 37.
Hurtado added her 11th point from the line after another Elko foul, but Drake splashed a pair of free throws for a 59-21 lead.
Ross continued her remarkable performance with a jumper, Rowley nearing double figures with a runner in transition.
The contest closed with a buzzer beater by Elquist, giving Elko a 65-21 victory over Sparks.
Elquist closed the game with 18 points, scoring 12 in the first half and seven in the second quarter.
Ross joined her in double digits with 14 points off the bench, notching eight in the second period.
Sparks was led by 11 points from Hurtado.
Rowley closed with nine points for the Lady Indians, followed by eight from Pulley and six by Baum.
Drake and Hendrix each scored four points, and Fagoaga closed out the scoring with two points for Elko.
ELKO – 20 – 19 – 18 – 8 – 65 Total
SPARKS – 9 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 21 Total
The Lady Indians reeled off their third-consecutive victory in league play and improved to 8-5 in the Division 3A North.
Elko will close the final road trip of the season with a 1 p.m. contest Saturday against the No. 6 Lady Wolverines in Truckee.