Truckee basketball | Boys play Elko tough in playoff loss
Courtesy of the Elko Daily Free Press
ELKO, Nev. and#8211; The Elko boys’ basketball team held off a scrappy Truckee team for a 42-34 win Friday in a 3A state quarterfinal game.
The Indians relied heavily on their defense as the offense struggled to get on track most of the game. The win puts the Tribe into the state semifinals for the first time since 2004.
and#8220;We told the kids it’s survive and advance,and#8221; veteran Elko coach Chris Klekas
said. and#8220;I thought we started the game with some energy, but we couldn’t get into a rhythm or flow.and#8221;
The Tribe built an early lead and never relinquished it, however, the Wolverines kept it close.
Brandon Jenkins and Nathan Klekas buried early 3-pointers to put the Indians up 6-2. Late in the first quarter, Sean Wallock came off the bench and hit two baskets and#8211; the second came off a steal he took the other way for a layup.
In the final seconds of the first quarter, the Tribe’s Cody Nielsen stole the ball and dished ahead to Alan Honeyestewa for a layup at the buzzer to put the Indians up 14-8.
The Wolverines continued to battle back to keep it close. Trent McMullen and Max Blinoff dropped in layups in the opening possessions of the second quarter, and Nash McMullen drained a jump shot to cut the Wolverines’ deficit to 17-14.
With 33 seconds left before halftime, Zac Pettit dropped in a deuce off a pass from Trent McMullen, who hit a buzzer-beater at the break to send the Wolverines into the locker room down just 23-19.
and#8220;We matched up well on their guards, but we didn’t get that many loose balls,and#8221; coach Klekas said. and#8220;Truckee did some good things. They controlled the pace of the game. I think we were really nervous.and#8221;
Elko’s Nathan Klekas, who was hampered by foul trouble most of the first half, came back on the court in the third quarter and hit two big baskets to push the lead to 27-21.
But the baskets were few and far between for both teams.
and#8220;I thought it was poor execution and a lot of standing around and watching,and#8221; coach Klekas said.
The Wolverines were unable to take advantage of the Tribe’s shooting woes. They could not string together a series of field goals, and their longest scoring run in the second half was 4-0.
With the score close, it was the Indians who made the clutch plays down the stretch.
The Tribe’s Tubby Rasch hit a shot to put his team up 34-27 with 5:34 left, and Nathan Klekas followed a minute later with a layup in transition.
With every possession becoming a factor, especially for the Wolverines, Marshall Dumas reached in and caused a jump ball. The possession arrow gave the ball back to Elko.
Two late offensive plays sealed the deal for the Indians. Jenkins outletted the ball in transition to Dumas, who hit Tim Meo under the basket for a layup. Less than a minute later, Jenkins buried a 3-pointer to put Elko up 10 with 2:11 left.
The Wolverines scored just one field goal in the final 2:30 of the game and that one was at the buzzer.
Nathan Klekas led the Indians with 13 points, and Alan Honeyestewa and Brandon Jenkins each had seven.
Truckee got 12 points from Trent McMullen, and Zac Pettit finished with six.
Elko plays in the state semifinals Friday in Reno.