Elko fended off a South Tahoe team that just wouldn’t quit Friday, making it out of town with a 51-43 league win.
“Elko’s a great team, so to come out and compete with them tonight in our house was very complementary of our boys and the effort they put in,” said South Tahoe coach Joby Cefalu.
Ranked 11th in Nevada and first in IA Northern League, Elko (19-2, 12-0) and South Tahoe were neck-and-neck through the first four minutes, but the Indians ended the first quarter with a 7-1 run for a 15-7 lead.
South Tahoe cut Elko’s lead back down to four. But with strong offensive rebounding, Elko pulled further ahead and took a 29-18 lead into halftime.
South Tahoe never gave up. The Vikings played solid basketball, but proved unable to close within seven points of Elko.
“Give it up to Tyler Hogbin in the first half and to Chase Waterman and Dominic Diana,” Cefalu said of his team’s performance. “The guys just played an excellent game and battled on the boards.”
Waterman led South Tahoe in scoring with 12 points. Hogbin and Denzel Perez each scored nine. Stone Merkley scored five and Jared Fajman scored four.
South Tahoe lost a tight matchup with visiting Spring Creek 63-59 Saturday.
The two league losses leave South Tahoe (8-12, 6-6 IA Northern) tied with Fallon for a 4th place playoff spot.
The Vikings have four more league games on their schedule, including a regular-season ending game at Fallon in mid-February. Cefalu said he is pleased with his team’s prospects.
“We’re hoping to get a few more wins over the next couple weeks and if we do, then we head back out to Elko and we get another shot at them. We’ve competed with the top two teams in the league, Elko and Lowry, and had opportunities to beat both of them,” Cefalu said.
“If we take Elko or Lowry in playoffs, they’re going to be a little more nervous. I think they’re rooting against us down this stretch.”