ELKO – With league play of the Division 3A North approaching, the Elko Indians will enter with a 3-0 record after winning each of its contest during the Red Lion Tournament – rolling past Division 4A program Reno by a final score of 71-51 on Saturday at Centennial Gymnasium.
Senior center Jeron Yopps went to work early for the Indians, scoring the first bucket of the game after great ball movement by seniors Ryan Wickersham and Jose Zataray.
Yopps tallied the second field goal of the game on an inbound pass from the baseline from freshman point guard Sean Klekas.
Senior Jonny Damon put the Huskies on the board with a pump fake and pull-up jumper.
On the other end, Yopps grabbed a loose ball and gave Elko a 6-2 advantage.
Damon scored on a straight-line drive for Reno, starting a run for the Huskies.
Senior Luke Stovak completed a three-point play with 3:29 remaining in the opening period – giving Reno a 7-6 lead – following with a triple from a drive-and-kick from Damon.
Elko senior Angelo Antoniou ended the 8-0 run with a three of his own with a man closing in his face from the left wing, pulling Elko to within one at 10-9.
Elko took the lead on a great pass from junior Alex Klekas to Zataray, making another assist on an inbound pass to junior Ronin Rowley.
Senior big man Tommy Challis scored inside for the Huskies, but Wickersham hit a big three from the right wing to close the first period – the shot rattling in, out and back in again at the buzzer.
Elko led 19-14 after the first quarter.
To start the second, Alex Klekas made a steal near the right sideline and raced in for a finish at the rim.
Senior Will Grinsell scored for the Huskies, but Zataray knocked down a pair of free throws for the Indians.
Challis made a free throw and sank a baseline jumper, followed by a triple by junior Mason Betterton – capping a 6-0 run for the Huskies.
Elko junior Joe Simpkins connected on a three for the Indians on an assist from Alex Klekas, and senior Mitch Woods made a put-back for Reno.
Elko closed the half on a 6-0 run.
Rowley knocked down two free throws after being fouled on an offensive rebound and great up-fake, followed by a pull-up jumper and a pair from the stripe by Sean Klekas.
At the break, the Indians led by eight at 32-24.
Zataray opened the third period with an And-1 on a pump fake along the baseline for the Indians, knocking down the free throw.
Challis scored on an inbound pass for the Huskies, but Sean Klekas heated up from distance for the Indians, splashing consecutive threes – the first on an assist from Yopps, the second with a man closing into his air space.
Challis found an easy bucket inside for Reno, but Yopps made a pair of free throws on the other end.
The Huskies began to score the basketball from the outside, Betterton ripping a triple and Stovak lining up a long deuce.
Antoniou made a dribble-out, spin-and-drive move for a shot in the lane and grabbed his own miss for a follow-up bucket, but Stovak nailed a triple from the right wing for the Huskies.
Alex Klekas returned the favor with a three from the left side for the Indians, but Stovak quickly drilled a three from the exact position on the floor as his previous triple.
The give-and-take was on, as Alex Klekas hit a pull-up deuce for Elko.
Betterton found the range from deep, the Huskies refusing to go away.
Up 50-42, the Indians successfully ran more than 30 seconds off the clock with their next possession with four-corners movement – Alex Klekas putting his team on his back with a three from the middle of the floor.
With the clock winding down, Betterton drilled a three from the right wing to close the third quarter – pulling Reno to within eight at 53-45.
To start the fourth quarter, the deficit was quickly sliced to four by junior Nick Gonzalez, who made a strong runner and followed with a layup after making a steal.
Four was as close as the Indians and Alex Klekas would allow Reno to get.
He buried consecutive threes on assists from Sean Klekas, the second coming on an inbound pass with 5:30 remaining – giving Elko a 59-49 lead.
Zataray drew a charge defensively, and Elko began to dominate the battle of attempts from the stripe – reaching the bonus early.
Alex Klekas made a free throw, followed by two each from Rowley and Sean Klekas.
The final points for Reno came on a jumper by Damon with 3:11 remaining, the Indians allowing just two points the final seven minutes of the game and six for the entire quarter.
Alex Klekas made four free throws and finished a drive with a layup, Elko’s final point coming on a free throw by senior Jeremiah Harris.
The Indians outscored Reno 18-6 in the fourth quarter and rolled to a 71-51 victory to close the Red Lion Tournament, Elko extending to a 3-0 record to start the season.
Alex Klekas scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half – drilling four 3s after the break – Sean Klekas joining him in double figures with 12 points and two triples.
Yopps and Antoniou and each closed with eight points, while Zataray finished with seven and Rowley added six for the Indians.
For the Huskies, Stovak scored a team-high 14 points and sank three 3s.
Each of Betterton’s 12 points came by way of four triples.
Challis, who averaged 25.5 points in the first two games of the tournament, was held to 11 by the Indians’ physical defense.
RENO – 14 – 10 – 21 – 6 – 51 Total
ELKO – 19 – 13 – 21 – 18 – 71 Total
“The goal was to get better every game, and I think we did that. Preseason games are used to learn and improve. We did a good job of getting to the free throw line, and the defense played very well,” said Elko coach Chris Klekas. “Every game, we had different players step up and do good things. I think everyone contributed. If we would have gone 0-3 but learned something and gotten better, I would have been fine with that. Starting league, now the games count.”
The Indians will play league play of the Division 3A North at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Fernley, a rematch of the 2017 3A North regional championship, in which Elko earned its seventh straight regional title with a 59-41 victory.
Elko will close the road trip at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Fallon.