ELKO – The Elko boys basketball team provided moments of brilliance Friday night, also experiencing some difficulties.
The Indians stayed the course and pulled away late for a 71-49 victory and a 2-0 start to the season and their own tournament, which continues and will end Saturday.
Reno notched the first bucket of the game in the lane, but the Indians ripped off a 9-0 run – senior Ronin Rowley starting the streak with a lucky bounce off an interior pass from freshman Michael Klekas.
Rowley’s second bucket came on an assist from sophomore Sean Klekas, and Michael Klekas dialed up an inside score off a pass from senior Alex Klekas.
A three from the left wing by Sean Klekas gave the Indians a 9-2 lead.
The drought was stopped momentarily with a deuce by the Huskies, but Michael Klekas scored four straight on a midrange jumper and a cut down the lane and assist from Rowley.
Alex Klekas pushed the ball down the floor and shoveled a one-handed pass to senior Cooper Jones, who drained a corner three from the left side – forcing a Reno timeout – the Huskies trailing 16-4.
An offensive rebound led to Reno’s next bucket, but Michael Klekas responded with a pull-up triple.
Elko allowed a baseline drive for an easy layup on the left side, but a free throw by Alex Klekas pushed the lead to 20-8.
Reno followed with a pair of freebies but the quarter closed with a shake-and-bake dagger from deep by Michael Klekas.
After scoring 23 points in his high school debut, he reached double digits in the first quarter Friday night – opening a 22-10 advantage.
The second quarter started with a left-handed runner down the lane by Sean Klekas, but Reno knifed the middle of the lane for a layup.
Rowley took over for the Indians, dropping a left-handed through contact.
The Huskies scored from the right block, as did Rowley with a right-handed hook off the window.
Reno drilled a three from the left wing in front of the Elko student section to cut the lead to 28-17, but Rowley continued his hot play – splashing a straightaway J from distance and following his own miss – scoring nine points in a row for the Indians, giving him 13 in the half.
Alex Klekas scored on the break from a steal and look-ahead pass by senior Joe Simpkins.
Reno answered with a two-pointer, but the advantage grew as Simpkins hammered home a three from the left corner on a drive-and-kick by Alex Klekas – who notched the next bucket on a steal and race to the cup.
Reno tallied the next-four points on a spin in the post and a pair of free throws, but the half closed with a three from the right wing by Alex Klekas.
At the break, the Indians opened a 43-25 lead.
To start the third quarter, Reno took off on a 7-3 run – the Huskies knocking down a three and finding easy buckets inside – forcing an Elko timeout with 5:54 remaining in the frame.
After Sean Klekas’ three for the Indians’ first bucket of the period, Elko did not score until less than five minutes on the clock – the drought stopped by a pair of free throws from Rowley.
Following a Reno score, the Indians gained a pair from the stripe by Michael Klekas.
Elko gave up another drive down the right side of the key, but Alex Klekas reached double figures with a three from the left wing – the score at 53-36.
The Huskies pulled to within 53-39 on a free throw and Elko turnover that was taken the distance for a layup.
With less than a minute remaining in the frame, Alex Klekas notched his 13th point of the contest – opening a 55-39 advantage.
Reno made another takeaway and charged down the court, earning a foul and trip to the line – the second free throw finding the inside of the tin.
The Huskies outscored the Indians 15-12, trimming the deficit to 15 at 55-40 entering the fourth quarter.
Reno opened the final frame with an interior pass and solid-post score on the right block, inching to within 13.
Sean Klekas knocked down a three from straightaway, but the Huskies continued to apply defensive pressure and rebound the basketball.
Following a block, Reno got out on the break and scored an And-1.
The Indians began to find their offensive rhythm in the form of the Klekas brothers.
Sean Klekas drove across the lane and dropped a lefty layup – plus the foul – sinking the free throw.
Alex Klekas swished a follow-up shot on the weak side from a missed three, and Michael Klekas sealed off his man along the baseline for a spin and deuce on a pass from Sean Klekas on the wing.
Michael Klekas scored four of the next six from the stripe, Alex Klekas adding the other two for an 11-0 run.
Reno made two one-for-two trips to the line and a clean appearance at the stripe, but the damage had already been done.
The Indians shook off some shaky moments on the defensive side of the ball, combined with sporadic rebounding and ball security issues – using a big fourth quarter to roll to a 71-49 victory.
The Indians finished with four players in double digits, led for the second straight game by Michael Klekas – who notched 19 points – giving him 42 for the tournament.
Alex Klekas Klekas added 17 points, Sean Klekas finishing with 14 – the trio of brothers combining for 50 of the Indians’ 71 points.
Rowley closed the contest with 15 points, 13 coming before the break.
Elko improved to 2-0 on the year and will close the tournament against Reed at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, at Centennial Gymnasium.
The Raiders defeated Meridian in the first game on Friday night.
The Warriors will open Saturday’s slate with a noon tip against Reno.