Elko seniors get last chance at state

Elko seniors get last chance at state


Elko seniors get last chance at state


One more chance at the big prize.

For five of the seniors on the Elko boys basketball team, this week represents their last chance at an elusive state title. And their last time playing basketball together.

The five seniors, all friends since early childhood, have been playing basketball together since they were young. All five made the Elko varsity as freshmen: Brandon Jenkins, Tim Meo, Marshall Dumas, Cody Neilson and Nathan Klekas.

They have qualified for state every year they have been on varsity, but have fallen short each time.

Their first year they finished 24-7 overall, but lost to Lowry in the Division I-A State Championship. They had beaten Lowry twice earlier in the season.

As sophomores, they repeated as regional champions and finished with a record of 24-4. But in the state semifinals, they lost to Clark.

Last season, as juniors, the Indians won a third regional championship and finished 25-4. But, once again, they lost to Clark, that time in the championship.

“We don’t really worry about what we haven’t done the last few years,” Elko coach Chris Klekas said. “Hopefully, we can make a few more baskets, rebound the ball and play good defense. Those are very good teams down there with good players. We’ll have to play a solid game, but it’s always that way for state games.”

Elko has a good team, again. But they are up against much bigger schools from Las Vegas.

Elko has won 19 consecutive games this season, is 25-2 overall, 16-0 in league. The only losses were to a Southern California school, by four points, and to a Tacoma, Wash., school by three, at a preseason tournament.

In their four seasons together, the Indians have a 98-15 record and have won four consecutive Northern region titles.

Nathan Klekas, Chris’ son, holds the school’s all-time scoring and rebound records and Brandon Jenkins, senior point guard, holds the all-time steals record.

Elko will face Desert Pines at 4:40 p.m. in a semifinal game Friday at Silverado High School in Las Vegas. In the other semifinal, Lowry will play Clark at 8 p.m.

Athough the Las Vegas schools have much larger enrollments, Chris Klekas doesn’t seem too worried.

“That’s OK. That’s what we do,” he said of playing larger schools.

Elko beat Carson by eight, 56-48 in December, and then beat Damonte Ranch by 21, 66-45. Both are Division I schools.

“They know what it’s all about,” Chris Klekas said of the state tournament. “We’ve got a lot of experience. We can’t blame a lack of experience. They’ve been playing a lot of basketball. We hope we have one good weekend left. It will be awful tough.”


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