Elko boys basketball team in search of first state championship since 1981
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - “The goal of high school sports (is to) win that state championship. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
In Elko County basketball is king, and at Elko High School the window to win it all is always open.
“We teach them that losing sucks. It’s more fun to win than it is to lose,” said Indians Head Coach, Chris Klekas.
Klekas is responsible for establishing a winning culture in Elko. He’s been the Indians’ head coach since the mid-1990′s, and if you count his stop in Jackpot, he’s been coaching generations of hoopers in Northeast Nevada for 38 years.
The ‘losing sucks’ mentality is working, too.
Klekas is the sixth-winningest coach in Nevada state history, and Elko hasn’t had a losing season since 2010.
The Indians have accomplished just about everything under Klekas: 20-plus win seasons, regional titles, and multiple state runner-up finishes. But one goal has evaded the school since 1981.
The two latest trips to State resulted in back-to-back heartbreaking losses in overtime for the 3A crown against rival Fallon in 2019 and 2020.
“That stings for a while,” Klekas said of the losses. “But we have to get back in the gym and start working harder and come out on top one of these years. We’re working at it.”
Elko has as good a chance as it’s ever had to win state in 2022. The team is led by Michael Klekas, the eight and final baller in the Klekas clan. Getting coached by his dad all his life has helped the senior lead Elko in points, and rebounds per game.
“It’s just like going home to your parents,” Michael Klekas said of his relationship with his father. “It’s great. I love it. I just want to win state for him.”
Elko has two more regular season games left before the team hopes to be in Las Vegas for The 3A State Tournament at the end of the month.
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