ELKO — Coming off a 49-44 home loss Tuesday to Spring Creek, the Elko girls basketball team is likely pinned into a potential dance with the No. 1 team in the land.
Entering their final road trip of the regular season, the No. 5 Lady Indians (11-12 overall, 9-7 in league) are set to face No. 7 North Valleys (7-15 overall, 5-10 in league) at 6 p.m. Friday, in Reno, and close their Division 3A North slate with a 1 p.m. Saturday tipoff versus the No. 2 Lady Wolverines, in Truckee, California.
If the Lady Indians beat the Lady Panthers, Elko is ensured no worse than a No. 5 seed for the regional tournament — regardless of what No. 6 Fallon (11-12 overall, 9-8 in league) does in its season finale versus Dayton (1-18 overall, 1-15 in league).
However, an Elko victory in either or both of its last two games would pin the Lady Indians on the same side of the bracket as No. 1 Fernley (22-2 overall, 18-0 in league).
In the first meeting with North Valleys, Elko breezed to a 57-34 victory on Jan. 10, at Centennial Gymnasium.
Elko senior Katie Ross dropped a game-high 17 points and added three rebounds, two steals, a block and an assist.
She was joined in double digits by freshman Peyton Jacaway, who finished with 13 points, six boards, two steals and a dime.
Junior Sydnee Patterson and senior Izzy Eklund scored six points apiece; Eklund showing out in numerous areas with game-highs of nine rebounds and nine steals — also stuffing a shot — Patterson posting an all-around performance with three boards, two assists and a pair of steals.
Freshman Avery Beatty finished with five points, four rebounds and a takeaway.
Junior Sidnee Auge and senior Victoria Navarro each added four points; Navarro closing with two rebounds, two dimes and a swipe — Auge snagging a pair of boards.
The offense for the Lady Indians was rounded out by a deuce from senior Olivia Morrell, who impacted the outcome with five boards and a handful of steals.
North Valleys was led by 11 points from freshman Hailey Calderon-Martinez — who hammered three 3s — junior Alexia Pena adding seven points.
Junior Georgia Wallin-Reed and senior Ileana Ruiz scored five points apiece, senior Skyler Curwen finished with three points, sophomore Jayden Taylor notched a deuce and the Lady Panthers’ scoring was capped by a free throw from freshman Meletava Fonohea.
Wallin-Reed was a shot-blocking machine — rejecting nine attempts — adding five rebounds and a steal.
North Valleys has not posted stats for all but six games, the numbers extremely diminished by the fact averages are based on 22 contests.
Elko Team Leaders
Scoring — Ross with 12 points, Jacaway (8.1), Aurora Eklund (6.0), Beatty (5.8), Izzy Eklund (5.0), Morrell (3.1), junior Zoe Blair (2.7 in three games) and Patterson (2.5)
Rebounding — Izzy Eklund at 5.6 boards, Ross (3.8), Morrell (3.4), Jacaway (3.2), Beatty and Aurora Eklund (2.7) and Patterson (2.6)
Assists — Aurora Eklund with 2.5 dimes, Jacaway (2.1), Izzy Eklund (1.4) and Ross (1.2)
Steals — Izzy Eklund and Aurora Eklund at 2.6 takeaways each, Jacaway (2.4), Morrell and Ross (1.3) and Patterson (1.0)
Blocks — Ross with .6 swats
The Lady Indians (11-12 overall, 9-7 in league) and the Lady Panthers (7-15 overall, 5-10 in league) will finish their season series at 6 p.m. Friday, at North Valleys High School, in Reno.
Elko will close out the regular season at 1 p.m. Saturday versus the No. 2 Lady Wolverines (18-4 overall, 13-3 in league as of Thursday) in Truckee, California.
In the first meeting, the Lady Indians gave up an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to Truckee by a final score of 47-44 on Jan. 11, at Centennial Gymnasium.