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Injuries plague Indians ahead of key home games
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Injuries plague Indians ahead of key home games

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Isaiah Dahl

Elko's Isaiah Dahl, middle, blocks South Tahoe's Cameron Lehmann, left, on Jan. 24, 2020, at Centennial. With injuries to Sean Klekas, Dawson Dumas and Michael Klekas, Dahl and a host of Indians must play key roles in a tough set of home games against No. 3 Lowry at 7:30 p.m. Friday and No. 2 Fallon at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

ELKO — Facing its toughest slate of league home games, the Elko boys basketball team is limping — literally.

Despite a 19-2 overall record and a perfect 13-0 mark in the Division 3A North, the Indians are likely without three starters against No. 3 Lowry (13-6 overall, 10-3 in league) at 7:30 p.m. Friday and No. 2 and defending state champion Fallon (15-6 overall, 13-1 in league) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

In reference to junior Sean Klekas and sophomores Dawson Dumas and Michael Klekas, Elko head coach Chris Klekas said “they’re probably not going to play.”

Sean Klekas tore the ligaments in his ankle during the first quarter of the Indians’ season opener, a 71-44 victory over Hug on Dec. 5, 2019, and Dumas suffered a stress fracture in Elko’s 45-44 win over Starr Valley (Wyoming) in the Juan Diego Holiday Classic on Dec. 30, 2019, in Draper, Utah — a game in which Dumas hit two 3s and scored a career-high 19 points.

Dumas played with the injury for three more games before transitioning to a walking boot and a scooter.

Until Friday, Jan. 31, the two were Elko’s only severe casualties.

However, in a 63-42 road win over Sparks, Michael Klekas — the league’s leading scorer and rebounder — went down with a severely-sprained ankle during the second quarter.

No. 1 Elko now preps for a crucial home stand against its top-two foes.

As for Friday night, the Indians will host Lowry — which is on a three-game winning streak.

Following a 66-55 road loss to Fernley on Jan. 23, the Buckaroos beat the Railroaders 70-33 on Jan. 25.

On Jan. 31, Lowry downed North Valleys by a final score of 62-46 and easily took out Truckee 59-38 on Feb. 1, in Winnemucca.

In the first meeting with Elko, the Indians dominated the action throughout and opened the calendar year with a 67-34 road victory over the Bucks, on Jan. 3.

Michael Klekas nearly went for a triple-double with game highs of 22 points, 11 rebounds and eight steals — hitting two 3s — adding a pair of assists and a block.

He was joined in double digits by 16 points from sophomore Isaiah Dahl — who finished with five rebounds, two assists, a takeaway and a rejection — and Dumas tallied 12 points, three boards, two dimes and a swipe.

Junior Calvin Burden played one of his best games of the season with eight points, eight rebounds, an assist and a swat — Burden recently coming up huge in Elko’s last road trip with a career-high 14 points against Sparks and seven points in a 54-39 win Saturday, in Fernley.

Senior EJ Alvarez notched seven points, a game-high four assists, four boards, two steals and a stuff.

On Saturday, Alvarez came up huge without Michael Klekas — scoring a career-high 27 points and canning three triples against Fernley.

Elko’s offense against the Bucks was capped by two points from senior Garrett McKinney, who added two boards and a steal.

Despite not putting up points, junior Jake Zeller finished with three rebounds, two steals and an assist — senior Max Shurtz adding two boards and a dime.

Lowry’s offense was paced by eight points from senior Michael Casalez — going 8-for-8 from the line — finishing with two rebounds and an assist.

Seniors Klay Garner and Kobe Stoker scored seven points apiece; Stoker attacking the glass for a team-high boards and adding a steal — Garner closing with four rebounds and a takeaway.

Senior Max Mavity hit the only three for the Buckaroos and finished with five points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist.

Junior JJ Backus went for three points, an assist and a steal — Lowry’s offense capped by two points each from juniors Alex Ruiz (two rebounds) and Mason Ellingford.

Without scoring, senior Chance Huitt grabbed three rebounds and dished a team-best two assists.

Stat Comparisons

When looking at the numbers, the Indians and Bucks are similar — Elko possessing several close advantages and Lowry also edging out some narrow gains.

The Indians score 61.3 points per game, the Buckaroos averaging 60.6 points.

From the field, Elko makes 47 percent of its shots — Lowry sinking 43 percent.

On the glass, the Indians possess a tight advantage of 31.1 rebounds to 30.7 boards by the Bucks.

Lowry has set up teammates for scores with more regularity, dishing 13.8 assists to Elko’s 11.7 dimes per game.

Defensively, the Bucks turn people over more often with 10.7 steals — the Indians averaging 9.3 takeaways — and Lowry blocks 1.9 shots per game, Elko rejecting 1.5 attempts per contest.

Team Leaders

Lowry

Scoring — Stoker with 12.4 points, Backus (11.6), Garner (10.1), Casalez (6.1), senior Preston Snow (5.1), junior Anthony Gildone (5.0), Mavity (3.7) and juniors Anthony Hemp and Ruiz (2.9)

Rebounding — Garner at 6.6 boards, Stoker (5.3), Gildone (3.9), Snow (2.9), Huitt (2.6) and Casalez (2.1)

Assists — Backus with 2.5 dimes, Casalez and Snow (2.0), Huitt (1.9), Mavity (1.4) and Garner (1.0)

Steals — Garner with 1.6 takeaways, Huitt and Backus (1.3) and Snow and Stoker (1.1)

Blocks — Garner at 1.2 rejections

Elko

Scoring — Michael Klekas with a league-best 24.4 points, Dahl (11.1), Dumas (10.6), Alvarez (9.6), Zeller (3.3), Burden (2.9), junior Brig Johnson (2.8) and McKinney (2.1)

Rebounding — Klekas with a league-high 11.5 boards, Johnson (3.3), Burden (3.2), Dahl (3.0), Shurtz and Zeller (2.7) and Alvarez (2.0)

Assists — Dumas with 2.9 assists, Klekas (2.8), Alvarez (2.0), Sean Klekas (two in one game), Dahl (1.9) and Zeller (1.4)

Steals — Alvarez with 2.2 takeaways, Dumas (1.9), Michael Klekas (1.8), Dahl (1.0) and Sean Klekas (one in one game)

Blocks — Michael Klekas with .5 swats

Game Time

The Indians (19-2 overall, 13-0 in league) will hit the hardwood wounded and with less numbers for a matchup with the No. 3 Buckaroos (13-6 overall, 10-3 in league) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Centennial Gymnasium.

Weekend Wrap

Elko will wrap up its weekend with a 2:30 p.m. Saturday tip against the defending state champ and No. 2 Fallon (15-6 overall, 13-1 in league as of Thursday).

In the first meeting, the Indians handed the Greenwave their only 3A North loss by a final score of 49-36 on Jan. 4, in Fallon, Elko overcoming a 24-20 deficit at the break with a 29-12 run in the second half.

Senior star Elijah Jackson did not play for the Greenwave in the contest, nursing a knee injury.

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The Indians allowed open looks, committed turnovers, missed free throws and gave up rebounds but survived a 65-58 seesaw of play and emotions during a game that left plenty to clean up Friday night at Centennial Gymnasium, avoiding a two-game home losing streak after falling 52-47 loss to Reed on Jan. 18.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Elko (15-2 overall, 9-0 in league) will host South Tahoe (10-5 overall, 7-3 in league) — Elko needing a 19-9 run in the fourth quarter for a 58-50 victory over the Vikings during the Indians’ 3A North opener on Dec. 13, 2019, in South Tahoe, California.

The Elko boys basketball team shut down Truckee to seven points in the first half and just two after the break — the clock running the entirety of the second half in a 68-9 demolition — the Indians setting a school record for fewest points allowed in a single game.

While the Elko boys basketball team’s record has one blemish, the Indians are perfect in league play. The Indians (12-1 overall, 6-0 in league) will look to remain unbeaten in the 3A North versus North Valleys at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Truckee at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, at Centennial Gymnasium.

When Friday’s Division 3A North boys basketball teams tipped off, there were three programs with unbeaten records in league play — two remain. Facing Lowry on the road, the nine-time defending league champ took care of business — Elko romping to a 67-34 victory.

Simply put, the Elko boys basketball team is facing a crucial road trip. On Friday, the Indians (4-0 in league) will face the first of two undefeated programs in the 3A North — tipping off at 7:30 p.m. versus Lowry, in Winnemucca. The Tribe and the Greenwave will tip off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, in Fallon, marking a rematch of the 2019 3A state championship decided by a game-wining three by Fallon's Elijah Jackson.

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