ELKO – Departing on its final road trip of the Division 3A North, the Elko boys basketball team and head coach Chris Klekas have a few goals.
The first aspiration is obviously to win two ballgames – keeping intact a perfect record against league opponents – the second is to improve in the contests and prepare as much as possible for the upcoming home games to close the slate, setting the stage for the 3A North regional tournament.
“We have to focus on ourselves and improve on the little things,” Klekas said. “Hopefully, we can keep them focused and be playing our best basketball over the next couple weeks.”
The Indians will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Sparks and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Truckee.
The first meeting between the Railroaders and the Indians was all Elko; very little Sparks.
Elko held Sparks to four points in three of the four periods, limiting the Railroaders to a goose egg in the third period.
The Indians nearly turned the game into a running clock in the first quarter, scoring 31 points and opening a 27-point advantage in eight minutes – opening the mercy rule in the second with a 19-4 stint.
At the break, Elko by 42 points at 50-8 and rolled to a 71-12 victory on Jan. 5 at Centennial Gymnasium.
The Indians dominated the Railroaders up and down the roster, freshman Sean Klekas leading the way with 11 points and sinking three 3s in the first half and seniors Jose Zataray and Jeron Yopps each finishing with 10 points.
Elko will look for a 13-0 start against Division 3A North competition, tipping off against the Railroaders (0-12) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Sparks.
The Indians’ road finale in league play will come Saturday against the Wolverines (3-9) in Truckee.
“They’re always a different team there,” Klekas said. “Truckee plays tough at home.”
The Wolverines played good teams tough in consecutive losses at home, falling by 10 in a 67-57 defeat in Truckee to No. 3 South Tahoe (8-5), falling by seven points to No. 2 Fallon on Jan. 26 by a final score of 72-65 at home.
However, when they traveled on Saturday to No. 6 Lowry, the Wolverines were hammered 52-26 by the Bucks in Winnemucca.
Truckee is led in scoring by the Cruz brothers, sophomore Isaac leading the way at 13.6 points per game and senior Gabe following with 11.8 points per contest.
In total, seven Truckee players score five points or more per game.
Juniors Spencer Edmondson and Dalton Pruyn average 7.5 and 7.0 points, respectively, followed by 6.4 points from freshman Ethan Flynn and 5.8 points by senior Conor Pugh.
Senior Garrett Hamilton rounds out the five-point-plus scorers with 5.2 per contest.
The Indians won the first meeting on Jan. 6 at Centennial Gymnasium by a final score of 64-27.
Truckee struggled to score the ball, only Isaac Cruz reaching double figures against Elko’s daunting defense – finishing with a team-high 13 points and sinking three 3s.
Elko placed three players in double figures, led by 12 points from Yopps and 11 each by Zataray and junior Ronin Rowley.
The Indians will close the 3A North road slate at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Truckee, leaving the Indians with two home games on their schedule.
Elko will close the regular season with a 7:30 p.m. Tuesday tip against Spring Creek and a 2:30 p.m. finale on senior day on Feb. 10 versus Lowry at Centennial Gymnasium.