TRUCKEE, California – A day after playing one of its closest contests of the year in league play, the Elko boys basketball team followed up with one of its worst performances Saturday.
The Indians overcame a poor start and eventually pulled away for a 22-point victory Friday in Sparks, but Elko needed nearly every one of its 44 points Saturday to dig out a four-point victory over the Wolverines in Truckee.
Elko improved to 14-0 in the Division 3A North by a final score of 44-40, narrowly edging a Truckee team that fell to 3-11 in league play.
The Indians struggled mightily to score the ball in the opening period – finishing with six points – gaining two points each from freshman Sean Klekas, junior Alex Klekas and senior Jeron Yopps.
Truckee dropped eight points in the first quarter – five coming from senior Gabe Cruz – and led by two going into the second frame.
The Indians woke up a bit in the second period, more than doubling their first-quarter output with 15 points.
The attack was a three-man frame once again for Elko; senior Jose Zataray leading the charge with six points.
Alex Klekas scored five in the period, and senior Stockton Salyer booked all four of his points in the second quarter.
Truckee scored 12 points in the period, setting the stage for a close battle.
Elko clung to a one-point lead of 21-20 at the break.
The Wolverines did not go away in the third period in front of the home crowd, outscoring Elko 12-10 in the quarter.
Junior Spencer Edmondson led balanced scoring for Truckee with four points in the period, the Wolverines turning a one-point halftime deficit into a one-point advantage going into the fourth.
Only two Elko players scored in the third, led seven points from junior Ronin Rowley – who closed the frame with an And-1 for a three-point play.
The other three points for Elko in the quarter came on a triple by senior Ryan Wickersham.
Entering the fourth, the Indians trailed 32-31.
Yopps and Zataray led the Indians with four points apiece in the final frame, Sean Klekas adding three free throws and senior Angelo Antonio notching a deuce.
Elko did not light up the scoreboard with 13 points in the fourth, but the Indians went back to their staple – defense – and shut down the Wolverines for eight points in the final period.
The Indians earned an ugly 44-40 victory to remain unbeaten in league play.
Zataray tied for the game high with 10 points, matching the effort from Truckee’s Edmondson.
Cruz and freshman Ethan Flynn each finished with eight points and made two 3s apiece for the Wolverines.
Rowley scored all seven of his points in the third quarter for the Indians, Alex Klekas scoring five of his seven in the second period.
Yopps finished with six points for the Indians, Sean Klekas following with five.
ELKO – 6 – 15 – 10 – 13 – 44 Total
TRUCKEE – 8 – 12 – 12 – 8 – 40 Total
“We struggled Friday in Sparks, and we played our worst game of the year Saturday,” said Elko coach Chris Klekas. “We missed a lot of layups. I don’t know if it was because we locked up the league title last weekend or if we were playing the bottom two teams in the league or a combination of the two. We have to stay focused and play much better. Tuesday is a big game and it should be a good one.”
The Indians will attempt to keep their perfect league record intact, hosting Spring Creek (9-5) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Centennial Gymnasium.