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Joe Simpkins

Elko's Joe Simpkins (10) slides between Fallon defenders Saturday for a left-handed finish in the Division 3A North championship game at North Valleys, in Reno. Simpkins scored a season-high 10 points, and the Indians claimed their eighth-consecutive regional title with a 65-57 victory. North No. 1 Elko will face South No. 2 Chaparral in the Division 3A state semifinal at 4:15 p.m. Friday, at Orleans Arena, in Las Vegas.

ELKO – No, this is not history lesson, a theme or a Western movie – but the outcome may indeed turn into a shootout.

In the Division 3A state semifinal round, the Indians will play the Cowboys – North No. 1 Elko taking on South No. 2 Chaparral at 4:15 p.m. Friday, at Orleans Arena, in Las Vegas.

For the eighth-consecutive season, the Elko boys basketball team will enter the state tournament with a No. 1 seed attached to its back – the Indians still looking for the their first state title in the span.

The Indians earned their eighth straight regional championship Saturday with a 65-57 win over Fallon – the Greenwave entering the state tourney as the North No. 2.

In the South regional semifinal round – one marked by upsets – the Cowboys (8-2 in Sunrise league play) took down Sunset No. 1 Democracy Prep in an 82-80 overtime thriller, the Blue Knights eliminated but arguably the best team in the state.

Mojave (No. 3 in Sunrise at 6-4) won the other 3A South semifinal, using a fourth-quarter comeback to rally past Sunrise No. 1 Boulder City (10-0 in league) by a final score of 67-66.

Due to a weather delay, the Rattlers beat the Cowboys by a final score of 64-60 on Monday for the 3A South regional championship – giving Mojave the South No. 1 seed for the state tournament and Chaparral finishing as the South No. 2.

The Cowboys (17-8 overall) lost two games in league play of the Southern Sunrise league, each defeat against Boulder City – both losses coming by a grand total of seven points – the Eagles eliminated by Mojave in the regional tournament.

Chaparral is a senior-heavy bunch, led by eight elder statesmen – paired with five juniors and a sophomore.

Senior Sameal Anderson leads the Cowboys in scoring at 14 points per game and tops the roster with four assists per contest – adding 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

Senior Elijah Briggs follows at 12.3 points per game – leading the team with 53 3s – shooting a lights-out 51 percent from distance.

Anderson also has range, knocking down 44 percent from three with 41 makes.

Junior Meshach Hawkins scores near double figures at 9.4 points per game, but he does his damage on the windows – wiping the glass clean and leading the Cowboys with 8.8 rebounds.

He also paces the defense with 3.7 steals.

Senior Dejonte Allen averages 7.5 points and 5.4 rebounds, senior Cairyn Bray scoring seven points and pulling down 4.3 boards per game.

Allen is the tallest player on the Cowboys’ roster at 6-feet-3-inches, Bray following at 6-foot-2.

Senior Joe “JT” Tuailiili gives Chaparral 4.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per outing.

The Cowboys may not have extreme size, but they are athletic.

“They are really athletic and they can shoot the basketball,” said Elko coach Chris Klekas. “We can’t turn the ball over and we have to rebound, but the game is going to come down to making shots.”

The Indians finished the regular season of the Division 3A North unbeaten at 18-0, adding two victories over South Tahoe and Fallon in the regional tournament – closing with a 20-0 mark against league foes.

Four players score in double figures for Elko, led by 16.2 points and 2.6 steals from senior Alex Klekas – who also rips down 6.8 rebounds and dishes 3.4 assists.

Freshman Michael Klekas has made a splash in his first season, dropping 15.5 points and snagging a team-high 8.7 boards per game.

Senior center Ronin Rowley scores 11.7 points and reels in 7.7 rebounds, blocking nearly a shot per contest.

Sophomore point guard Sean Klekas averages 10.3 points and leads the Indians in the passing department with four assists per contest.

He has been red-hot in his last-three games – scoring 24 points, 21 points and 20 points – burying 16 3s in the stretch.

Elko’s other starter, senior Joe Simpkins, scores 3.3 points per game – coming off a season-high 10 points with two 3s in the 3A North title game against Fallon.

Comparisons

The Indians hold a slight average in scoring at 65.3 points per game to Chaparral’s 64.3, but the Cowboys shoot the ball at a 51-percent clip from the floor to Elko’s 46 percent.

The battle of the backboards is nearly even, the Cowboys pulling down 33.8 rebounds per game to the Indians’ 32.8 boards.

Elko dishes 13.8 assists per outing, Chaparral setting up scores for teammates 12.3 times per contest.

Another dead-heat, the Indians make 10.1 steals per game – the Cowboys coming away with 10 swipes.

The Cowboys commit 11.4 turnovers per contest, the Indians giving the ball away 12.4 times – a number Elko would love to see in single digits in its biggest game of the season.

Chaparral has drilled 174 3s, Elko connecting on 170 shots from deep.

With many areas even, the state semifinal could be a close contest and may come down to a few points – Elko hitting 72 percent of its free throws, Chaparral sinking 59 percent of its freebies.

Game Time

The Elko Indians will play the Chaparral Cowboys for a berth in the state title game during the Division 3A Nevada State Basketball Championships at 4:15 p.m. Friday, at Orleans Arena, in Las Vegas.

North No. 2 Fallon will tip off the 3A boys state tournament, playing South No. 1 Mojave at 12:45 p.m. Friday, at Orleans Arena.

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