A season after a successful run ended with a disappointing loss in the Division I-A state semifinals, the Elko boys basketball team has picked up where it left off.
With an almost completely new team.
Elko lost to Desert Pines, 51-48, in overtime last February at the state tournament in Las Vegas after going 16-0 in the Northern Division I-A (25-3 overall). The Indians were doomed by poor free throw shooting in that game, hitting 13-of-24.
Ten of the players on that team graduated.
But the players this season are continuing the Indians’ strong basketball tradition. They have won at least 24 games each of the past four seasons.
“We’re defending and we’re rebounding, so when the kids do that, they have a chance to win,” Elko coach Chris Klekas said.
The Indians are 5-0 in league, 9-2 overall after beating Fallon, 51-47, Friday night, and will travel to Las Vegas next week to play in the Battle Born Classic, the only Northern Nevada team invited to that tournament. Elko will play Liberty and Foothill there.
One of Elko’s biggest rivals might be Fernley this season. The Vaqueros are 3-1 in league (7-4 overall). The teams play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Elko.
Klekas said South Tahoe (3-1, 6-8) should also pose a challenge this year.
“There’s a lot more balance this year,” Klekas said of the teams in the league. “I think about four or five teams can be right there.”
’s a new Klekas taking over the scoring role for the Indians this season. Eric Klekas, a junior, is averaging 24.5 points per game. He scored 37 in a win against Lowry last week. He also had 37 in a win over Damonte Ranch last month. As a sophomore on the varsity last season, he averaged 9.8 points.
Last season, his brother Nathan Klekas, one of the 10 seniors on that team, averaged 16 points and nine rebounds.
Kyrin Allen, also a junior, is averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.