RENO – Well, eight years – eight appearances in the state tournament.
The Elko basketball team took care of business Friday night, the Indians earning their eighth-consecutive position in the regional championship game with a 78-53 win over No. 5 South Tahoe.
The game’s first bucket came on a three from the right wing by freshman Michael Klekas, answered with a pair of free throws by South Tahoe junior Carl Valiente.
The Vikings took a 4-3 lead on a finish by senior Kevin Lehmann, but Elko found a 5-4 advantage at the line on a pair of free throws by senior Ronin Rowley.
Elko went up 11-4, sophomore Sean Klekas blasting consecutive threes.
South Tahoe responded with a triple, but Sean Klekas unleashed his third triple of the opening frame.
From the left side, Sean Klekas cashed his fourth bomb as he fell away into the South Tahoe bench – giving the Indians a 17-7 lead.
The Vikings nailed their second triple of the quarter on the other side.
In transition, senior Alex Klekas pushed the pace and made a one-handed scoop off the bounce from the left side.
To close the frame, Sean Klekas hit a free throw – giving him 13 points – Elko leading by double at 20-10.
The triples continued to fall in the second, Elko freshman Dawson Dumas tacking on a three from a dish by Michael Klekas.
Junior Cameron Lehmann railed a triple from the left side for the Vikings, Michael Klekas following with a 6-0 run – hitting a free throw, a corner three and a jump hook on the block.
Cameron Lehmann went 1-for-2 at the line for South Tahoe, Rowley tacking on a jump hook from his right to his left for the Indians.
He scored the next Elko bucket on the break, receiving a long outlet pass from Michael Klekas straight down the heart of the floor.
South Tahoe went on a 5-0 run and pulled to within 13 at 33-20.
Elko stemmed the spurt with a layup on the baseline by Dumas, scoring on a backdoor cut and dish from Michael Klekas.
The Vikings added a freebie, but the half came to a close with a bunny for senior Joe Simpkins on the right side.
At the break, the Indians led by 16 at 37-21.
Both teams mounted offense in the third quarter, Elko booking 18 points and South Tahoe scoring 16.
Kevin Lehmann knocked down a jumper, Rowley scoring in the middle for the Indians.
Freshman Andrew Lehmann found an easy deuce with a drive to the left block, but Rowley hit a pair of free throws.
Swapping sides, Andrew Lehmann finished on the right block.
Elko added a triple from the right wing – either coming off the hand of Sean Klekas or Simpkins – Andrew Lehmann cashing a three from the right corner for the Vikings.
Rowley attacked the middle for another close-range bucket, but South Tahoe came down the floor and dropped a triple by senior Cameron Johnson.
The next points came at the line – Rowley sinking one, Andrew Lehmann hitting two and Alex Klekas dropping a pair.
Michael Klekas began to go to work inside, scoring from deep in the post.
Cameron Lehmann finished an And-1 for the Vikings, but Michael Klekas took control once more for a 55-37 lead.
Simpkins grabbed an offensive rebound and ran the floor, getting the rock back from Alex Klekas for a hoop plus the harm.
The period closed with another point-blank finish in the middle by Michael Klekas.
After three, Elko was eight minutes away from its eighth-straight spot in the big dance – the Indians leading by 18 at 55-37.
Andrew Lehmann crossed up his defender for a pretty finish to start the fourth quarter, but Sean Klekas went back to the well – splashing a three.
Cameron Lehmann scored through a foul for the Vikings, but Alex Klekas drained a free throw for the Indians.
Kevin Lehmann made a strong move and split a pair of defenders on the right block, but Sean Klekas strung up and knocked down his sixth or seventh triple of the contest.
Senior Michael Iguban followed suit and hammered a three of his own, and senior Cooper Jones picked his man’s pocket clean – taking the steal down the court quickly for a pretty finish.
South Tahoe tallied the next-four points, but Alex Klekas beat the South Tahoe defense down the floor for a layup.
Sean Klekas knifed the lane for a deuce at the tin, and Iguban snagged an offensive rebound on the break a for a fall-away, follow-up bank shot.
Junior Logan Chapman knocked down a tough turn-around jumper, but the triple rang true once more for the Indians – junior EJ Alvarez cashing one from the right wing.
South Tahoe tallied the final three points, but Elko clinched its eighth-consecutive appearance in the state tournament with a 78-53 victory.
The No. 1 Indians will take on No. 2 Fallon – which barely survived a come-from-behind overtime win of 72-68 over Lowry in the other regional semifinal – the Division 3A North regional title game taking place at 5 p.m. Saturday at North Valleys High School, in Reno.