LAS VEGAS – Following a 60-59 victory by Fallon over Mojave, the Elko boys basketball team played strong basketball in the second half Friday – the Indians creating an all-North 3A state championship with a 53-47 victory over Chaparral in the other semifinal.
The Indians struck quickly, senior Alex Klekas kick-starting the action with a three.
Chaparral tied the contest with a three from the left side by senior Dejonte Allen, Elko climbing on top with a finish by senior Joe Simpkins on a lob pass from freshman Michael Klekas.
Allen tied the game with a jumper from the left side, but the Indians took a 7-5 lead with a turnaround jumper in the post by Michael Klekas.
Senior Ronin Rowley grabbed his own miss and finished in transition, but senior Cairyn Bray knifed the right side of the Elko defense for a layup on the block.
On the other end, Michael Klekas netted a three from the right wing for a 12-7 advantage.
Senior Elijah Briggs pulled down an offensive rebound for a put-back inside, but Rowley splashed a three from the top of the arc for the Indians on a dish from Alex Klekas.
To close the quarter, the Indians ran time off the clock – Sean Klekas kicking to Alex on the right wing for a cold-blooded, step-back three.
After one, Elko found the solid start it was looking for – doubling up the Cowboys at 18-9.
The second period was a polar opposite from the first, the Indians struggling mightily with the Cowboys’ pressure.
Chaparral forced numerous turnovers and several tough looks, scoring the first eight points of the quarter.
Senior Sameal Anderson took a steal by junior Meshach Hawkins to the tin for an And-1 plus the free throw, junior Iopu Tauiliili adding a bucket on the right block.
Anderson went to the line and knocked down his free throws, going 1-for-2 in another trip the stripe.
Elko’s drought ended with a put-back by Michael Klekas midway through the period, but the Cowboys trimmed the lead to one with two freebies by Hawkins.
Allen gave Chaparral a two-point lead with a three, Elko coughing the ball up with a turnover.
The Cowboys went up five another triple by junior Austin Talimalie, the Indians following with another giveaway.
Alex Klekas scored for Elko in transition and cut the deficit to three at 25-22, but the Cowboys went back to the well and lined up a shot from distance – the second three by Talimalie pushing the advantage to six.
A pair of free throws by Alex Klekas slimmed the margin to four but Elko gave up an offensive board to Tauiliili for the final deuce of the half.
Chaparral’s athleticism spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E for the Indians, the Cowboys taking a 30-24 lead at the break after outscoring Elko 21-6 in the second quarter.
The Indians lost Allen, who banged home a three from the left wing to start the third quarter – opening a nine-point lead.
However, the Indians pulled to within seven on a strong drive down the gut by Sean Klekas.
Rowley’s three from the left wing was wet, and Michael Klekas dropped a hook in the post – closing the gap to two.
Senior Elijah Briggs spun home a finish for the Cowboys, but Sean Klekas rattled a three in, out and back in again – the Indians slicing the margin to one at 35-34.
Chaparral notched the next four – Anderson hitting a midrange jumper and dropping a shot on the right block after a strong take.
Michael Klekas rebounded the ball for the Indians and brought the deficit three, Chaparral’s press costing the Cowboys a point as Alex Klekas threw a long look-ahead to senior Cooper Jones for a bunny – the Indians trailing by one ay 39-38 – Anderson scoring along the baseline for the answer.
Alex Klekas hustled for a loose ball and drained a floater in the middle, and Rowley drew a charge against Anderson on the other end.
Chaparral was granted a flop for a charge by the Indians, but the Cowboys gave the rock right back.
At the buzzer, Rowley spun on the block and swished a jump hook – giving the Indians a 42-41 lead – Elko topping Chaparral 18-11 in the third quarter.
To open the fourth, Elko ate a bunch of time off the clock – the Indians pulling away from the basket – leaving an alley for Sean Klekas to penetrate and score over his defender on the right side.
Chaparral missed point-blank shots on consecutive trips, and Elko once again killed time – leaving 5:23 on the clock after the second possession of the fourth.
Neither team scored for nearly five minutes, the defensive struggle crashing to a close with a huge three from the right corner by Sean Klekas – who threw the ball inbounds only to get it back for one of the biggest shots of the game with 2:30 remaining.
Elko extended to an eight-point lead with a press break – Alex Klekas throwing a long outlet to the frontcourt to Rowley – his pass finding wide-open freshman Dawson Dumas for a layup.
Hawkins brought the Cowboys to within five a three, but Michael Klekas gained two points at the line for the Indians.
Briggs made things interesting with a three – brining the score to 51-47 – and the Indians missed the front end of the 1-and-1 with 20 seconds on the clock.
Chaparral went cold down the stretch, Alex Klekas snagging a clutch rebound and calmly burying both free throws with less than 10 ticks remaining.
With a much-needed, big-time second half, the Indians advanced to the Division 3A state championship with a 53-47 victory over Chaparral.
Elko closed with four players in double figures, led by 14 points by Alex Klekas – who reached double digits in the first half with 10.
Michael Klekas finished with 13 points, Sean Klekas scored all 10 of his points after the break and Rowley dropped 10 points as well.
Alex Klekas, Sean Klekas and Rowley each hammered two 3s for the Indians.
The Cowboys were paced by 11 points and three triples from Allen, Anderson scored 10 points and Briggs and Hawkins each finished with seven.
Talimalie’s six points all came on two 3s, Tauiliili added four points and Bray closed the offense for Chaparral with a deuce.
The scoring for the Indians was capped by two points apiece from Simpkins, Jones and Dumas.
The all-North state final – featuring No. 1 Elko and No. 2 Fallon – the fourth installment of the season series will settle the dispute, the Indians and the Greenwave tipping off at 12:50 p.m. Saturday, at Orleans Arena, in Las Vegas.
The Greenwave needed a length-of-the-floor advancement of the ball with four seconds remaining to force overtime on a 15-foot runner by junior Thomas Steele in the first semifinal Friday against South No. 1 Mojave, Fallon using a tip-in by junior Elijah Jackson with five seconds on the clock in the extra frame for a 60-59 victory over the Rattlers.