ELKO – The Elko boys basketball team improved to 8-0 in league play Tuesday, wrapping up to the first half of the Division 3A North schedule with a 49-30 victory at Lowry.
Now, the Indians are prepping for the second half – hoping to improve and test themselves against tough competition from large schools in non-conference ballgames.
Elko will begins its two-game road trip with a 6 p.m. Friday tipoff against the Rattlers at Mojave High School.
Mojave enters the contest ranked as the No. 4 team in the Division 3A state standings, while Elko is currently No. 1 according to MaxPreps.
MaxPreps has the Indians ranked 15th overall in the state, regardless of classification, while the Rattlers are ranked 26th overall.
As with any time Elko faces a Las Vegas school, the Indians will play against elite athletes.
The Rattlers are not as tall as many of the teams Elko has faced from the South, but Mojave still has nine players who stand 6-feet or taller.
“Mojave looks pretty good. They have a bunch of athletes from football,” said Elko coach Chris Klekas.
The Rattlers advanced to the 3A state championship football game in the fall, losing 54-24 to repeat-state champion Desert Pines.
The Centennial Bulldogs are a perennial power in the Division 4A, Centennial High School having the sixth-largest enrollment in the state with more than 3,000 students.
The Bulldogs have 11 players who are 6-feet or taller, topped by 6-foot-6 senior Teon Taylor.
Centennial defeated Faith Lutheran in a close, two-point ballgame by a final score of 54-52 on Friday.
The Bulldogs were led by a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds from 6-foot-2 senior Ishon Hardin.
“Both teams we’re playing have good size and they are very athletic. Centennial is always one of the top teams in the 4A,” Klekas said. “They had the kid go to Oregon, and he’s playing well there.”
Centennial Class of 2017 graduate Troy Brown, as a true freshman, leads the Ducks in rebounding at 7.6 boards per game and is third on the team in scoring – averaging 12.3 points and adding three assists per contest.
The Bulldogs are currently ranked 10th in the Division 4A and 12th overall in the state, according to MaxPreps.
Two of the teams ahead of them not eligible to compete for Nevada state championships, including No. 1 Findlay Prep – which competes independently and is ninth in the Xcellent 25 national rankings.
“We need to rebound, play defense and do all the little things to give ourselves a chance,” Klekas said. “We are going to have to raise our level play and improve to have success at regionals if we want to make state.”
The Indians will tip off at 6 p.m. Friday against the Rattlers at Mojave High School, closing the weekend with another schedule change – the game against Centennial being moved back to 2:30 p.m. Saturday during the Battle Born Classic at Durango High School.