SPRING CREEK – The Spring Creek Spartans enter Tuesday’s matchup against the Elko Indians (4-0 in league) with a 1-3 record the Division 3A North, but numbers can be deceiving.
“Spring Creek has a lot of experience. They start five seniors,” said Elko coach Chris Klekas.
The Spartans recently competed in the Eagle Holiday Classic in Utah, finishing with an 0-4 record against quality competition.
Spring Creek lost 67-40 to Dreher (South Carolina), 62-56 to West (Salt Lake City), 64-40 to Lehi (Utah) and 56-47 to Judge Memorial (Salt Lake City).
“Utah has a lot of good teams and a lot of good basketball,” Klekas said. “I’m sure they are better from going over there.”
The Spartan also have size, every starter standing 6-feet and taller – three players going 6-foot-3 or taller.
“They have size and they have played a lot together,” Klekas said.
Spring Creek is led in scoring by senior Levi Yaunick at 14.3 points per game, joined in double digits by senior Jake Oliphant at 12.8 points per game.
Also yanking down 10 rebounds per game, Oliphant has been averaging a double-double.
Elko also some size in the middle and on the wing, three starters standing 6-foot-2 or taller.
Senior big man Jeron Yopps has played well for the Indians in the post, also showing the propensity to step outside and knock down shots from distance.
Yopps has manned the middle of the defense, pulling down rebounds on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball and blocking shots.
The Klekas brothers have run the Elko backcourt, junior and 2nd-Team All-North selection Alex Klekas playing the point and on the wing at shooting guard, while freshman Sean Klekas has made his presence felt with offensive prowess and passing at the point, ability to hit shots and play lock-down defense – often forcing turnovers by drawing charges and making steals.
Elko has not played since Dec. 21, finishing the Magic Valley Holiday Classic in Jerome, Idaho, in third place with a 2-1 record.
The Indians beat Pocatello (Idaho), 66-55, following with their only loss of the year in a 61-56 contest to the Spartans of Minico (Idaho), closing with a 53-46 victory over Idaho Falls.
“Hopefully, not playing in a while won’t hurt us. We haven’t played around here in a long time, everything has been on the road,” Klekas said. “We have our work cut out for us.”
The Spartans will host the Indians for the first of two regular season meetings at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Spring Creek, each team returning to league play after a more than two-week absence of playing 3A North opponents.
Spring Creek head coach Scott Carsrud was unavailable for comment.