Truckee basketball | Boys show improvement vs. Elko
Division I-A basketball standings
Team League Overall
Elko 7-0 12-1
Lowry 6-0 14-1
S. Creek 4-3 5-8
Dayton 3-3 9-4
Fallon 3-3 4-7
S. Tahoe 3-3 5-9
Fernley 1-5 6-7
Sparks 1-5 1-12
Truckee 0-6 2-9
TRUCKEE — The Truckee boys needed a fine performance against one of the top teams in the state Saturday to make up for Friday’s deficiencies.
While the Wolverines fell short of picking up their first league win against visiting Elko on Saturday, they succeeded in placating first-year coach Sky Nelson.
“I thought we played very well,” Nelson said after Truckee’s 63-49 loss to Elko, which remains undefeated in league play (7-0) and 12-1 overall. “I’m very optimistic after that game that we can get much better. I feel like we cleared a hurdle. We took two steps back Friday and three steps forward Saturday.”
After losing 57-36 against Spring Creek (4-3) on Friday, the Wolverines came out looking like a different team against the powerhouse Indians, who have annihilated every Division I-A opponent they’ve faced this season, as well as every Division I school.
In fact, Saturday’s 14-point margin was Elko’s closest league contest. The Indians defeated Fernley and South Tahoe each by 40 points. They beat Fallon by 21, Dayton by 27, Spring Creek by 31 and Sparks by 15.
Truckee was ready for the challenge.
Despite falling behind 8-0 in the opening minutes, the Wolverines battled back to within four points to close out the first quarter down 14-10. They made life difficult for the visitors with scrappy defense and efficient offense both from the perimeter and post — a recipe Nelson has been looking for since the start of the season.
Elko used its distinct size advantage to control the boards, particularly on the offensive end, while the Indians hit eight 3-pointers in the game to keep the Wolverines at bay. Elko carried a 32-22 lead into the half.
Truckee continued to play hard after the break, however, never allowing the Indians to run away with the rout.
“I think the boys are ready to start winning,” Nelson said.
Louden Smith was a force from the opening tip. The 6-foot-4 senior forward cut to the hoop with authority and hit open shots from range. He finished with a game-high 19 points, including 12 points in the first half.
Nathan Klekas led Elko with 18, while Brandon Jenkins scored 16 on four 3-pointers.
The Spring Creek contest was one to forget, Nelson said. Truckee trailed 14-8 after one quarter and 26-17 at the half. The Spartans then outscored the Wolverines 17-8 in the third quarter to take complete control.
Junior guard Nick Oberriter scored 13 points to lead Truckee, while Caden Gunnell and Connor Windous scored 12 apiece to lead Spring Creek.
Truckee is scheduled to host Sparks next Tuesday and South Tahoe next Friday, both at 7:30 p.m.
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