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Solution for Elko is simple; just win
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Solution for Elko is simple; just win

Jake Zeller

Elko's Jake Zeller (10) goes to the tin for a layup against Spring Creek's Kyle Owsley during the first quarter Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at Centennial Gymnasium. The Indians broke a two-game skid with a 61-36 victory. If Elko wins its final two road games of the regular season, the Indians are guaranteed no worse than a No. 2 seed for the 3A North regional tournament.

ELKO — For the Elko boys basketball team — in order to ensure a first-round bye — the Indians will clinch at least the No. 2 seed if they can make a clean road trip.

Following back-to-back home losses to now-No. 1 Fallon (18-6 overall, 16-1 in league) and current No. 3 Lowry (15-7 overall, 12-4 in league), Elko is now No. 2 in the Division 3A North standings.

The Indians (20-4 overall, 14-2 in league) righted the ship with a 61-36 victory Tuesday over No. 8 Spring Creek (5-19 overall, 4-12 in league) and will open its final two-game road trek of the regular season.

In order to seal a spot in the regional semifinal, Elko will need consecutive victories over No. 9/10 North Valleys and No. 7 Truckee.

During the first meeting with the Indians, the Panthers (3-20 overall, 2-14 in league) dropped an 85-53 contest on Jan. 10, at Centennial Gymnasium.

In the ballgame, now-injured sophomore Michael Klekas was on fire — shooting a red-hot 15-for-19 from the field and 8-of-10 from three — finishing one triple away from tying the school record for a single game.

He dropped 30 of his game-high 40 points in the first half and sat the entire fourth quarter, still mounting a game-best 13 rebounds for a double-double and finishing with four assists and a steal.

Senior EJ Alvarez drained three triples on his way to 13 points and two assists.

Elko’s third double-figure scorer was sophomore Isaiah Dahl, who finished with 11 points, a game-high five assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals.

North Valleys was led by 14 points from senior Marcus James, who hit two 3s and added two boards, two steals and an assist.

Senior Tyler Perez also drained a pair of triples and reached double digits with 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and a dime.

Senior Brig Johnson notched six points, four rebounds and a takeaway for the Indians.

Junior Jake Zeller tallied four points, two assists and a board — the offense closed by two points each from seniors Zach Hull and CJ Marma.

Marma grabbed four rebounds, and Hull finished with an assist and a steal.

For the Panthers, senior Muhammad Safdar dropped seven points, and senior Devon James finished with six points, a team-high three steals and two rebounds.

Senior Jay Jezar scored four points and led North Valleys with six rebounds, and senior Jazwuan Reno notched three points, five boards, an assist and a swipe — senior Maximus Quevedo hitting a three.

North Valleys’ scoring was finished by two points each for juniors Chris Rivera (five rebounds, assist) and Caleb Hunter (three boards).

Stat comparisons

The Indians score 63 points per game and knock down 47 percent of their shots, the Panthers averaging 47.8 points and connect at a 33-percent clip from the field.

Elko dishes to scores 11.7 times per game compared to 7.3 assists for North Valleys, but the Panthers also possess a few advantages of their own — stemming from athletic ability.

The Panthers lead the battle of the backboards 35 to 31.2, create more takeaways with 13 steals to nine and block 1.9 shots per contest compared to 1.4 rejections for the Indians.

Team Leaders

North Valleys

Scoring — Marcus James at 11 points, Hunter (9.1), Devon James (8.5), sophomore Cameron Zeidler (6.0), Perez (5.0), senior Lester Iwuajoku and Reno (3.8) and Jezar (3.4)

Rebounding – Hunter with 9.8 boards, Jezar (4.9), Reno (4.6), Zeidler (4.4), Marcus James (3.9), Devon James (3.7), Iwuajoku (2.9), Quevedo (2.2) and Rivera (2.0)

Assists — Marcus James with 2.4 dimes, Devon James (1.7) and Perez (1.0)

Steals — Devon James at 2.9 swipes, Marcus James (2.7), Hunter and Zeidler (1.8), Quevedo (1.6) and Perez (1.2)

Blocks — Hunter with .8 rejections and Reno (.5)


Scoring — Klekas with a league-high 24.4 points, Dahl (12.2), sophomore Dawson Dumas (10.7), Alvarez (10.0), Zeller (3.6), junior Calvin Burden (3.2) and Johnson (3.1)

Rebounding — Klekas at a league-best 11.5 boards, Johnson (3.5), Calvin Burden (3.2), Dahl (3.1), Zeller (2.8), senior Max Shurtz (2.7) and Alvarez (2.1)

Assists — Dumas with 2.9 dimes, Klekas (2.8), Dahl (2.1), Alvarez (2.0), junior Sean Klekas (2.0 through two games) and Zeller (1.4)

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

Blocks — Michael Klekas with .5 swats

Game Time

The Indians (20-4 overall, 14-2 in league) and the Panthers (3-20 overall, 2-14 in league) will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, at North Valleys High School, in Reno.

Weekend Wrap

Elko will wrap up the regular season with a 2:30 p.m. Saturday date with the Wolverines (6-16 overall, 5-11 in league as of Thursday) in Truckee, California.

In the first meeting, the Indians allowed the fewest points in school history during a 68-9 domination on Jan. 11, at Centennial Gymnasium.


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Related to this story

Fallon assumed the No. 1 position of the Division 3A North standings with a 64-49 victory over Elko, thanks to the Indians' 77-76 loss to No. 3 Lowry on Friday night — Elko falling on its home floor for the first time in consecutive contests since back-to-back defeats on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9, 2011.

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.

After needing both free throws by sophomore Michael tKlekas with 13 ticks on the clock for a 45-44 victory over the Star Valley (Wyoming) Braves, the Indians gradually proved to be too much for the Grace (Idaho) Grizzlies.

The Indians rode the backs of sophomores Dawson Dumas and Michael Klekas in a 45-44, come-from-behind win over Star Valley (Wyoming) — Dumas finishing with a career high for points and Klekas sinking a pair of free throws with 13 ticks on the clock.

In its first two games of the Soaring Eagle Holiday Classic, the Elko boys basketball team experienced different outcomes. The Indians rolled to a 15-point victory Saturday over Granger (Utah) but fell by 12 points in their second game of the day versus Bear River (Utah).

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Elko's boys basketball team will look for a 6-0 start to the season and a 3-0 mark in the 3A North versus the Railroaders at 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Centennial Gymnasium. The Indians will close the weekend home stand with a 2:30 p.m. Saturday tip versus Fernley.

Elko's Michael Klekas scored the school's most points during a game in the past 45-plus years Saturday, finishing with a career-high 41 versus Hunter (Utah) in the finale of the Elko Classic. The Indians cruised to an 82-51 victory. In 1973, Richard Cothrun scored a single-game, school-record 43 points against Stewart Indian School (Carson).

The time has come for the heels to hit the hardwood. The first action of the season will take place in a familiar setting, in arguably the best home-court advantage in the state.

The Elko boys basketball program will host its annual Elko Invitational from Thursday through Saturday, at Centennial Gymnasium.

  • 7 min to read

ELKO — The last time the Elko boys basketball team was on the floor in a competitive game, the Indians tasted the sour flavor of defeat in the…

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