Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
A loss at Elko Saturday ended Fernley’s hopes of a first-round bye for the upcoming 3ANorth Region Tournament. But it may have reinforced their belief they win there.
Elko defeated Fernley 68-59 Saturday afternoon, but only after a hard-fought game in which the Vaqueros were within 3 points in the final minute.
The loss dropped the Vaqueros into a tie for third place with Spring Creek at 10-4 in league play, but they own the tiebreaker against the Spartans by having won both regular season games.
Fernley led 35-33 at the half, but Elko came roaring out of the locker room and immediately opened up an 8-point lead.
Fernley hung around, however, before missing some late shots while Elko extended the lead from the free throw line.
Drake Howe scored 15 points to lead Fernley, while Zach Burns and Ren Arroyo had 14 each. Eric Klekas poured in 32 points for Elko.
“He just carried them,” Miller said.
Elko leads the league at 12-1, but that one loss came at Fernley, and coach Derek Miller said the Vaqueros know they can win if they face Elko again in the regional tournament.
The Vaqueros finish the regular season this week by hosting Truckee Tuesday night and Sparks Friday, and need to win both games to assure themselves of the No. 3 seed for the regional tournament.
“We told the boys we’ve got to have both of them,” Miller said.
No matter how the bracket turns out, Miller said the Vaqueros know they will have to beat either Elko or South Tahoe in the regional semifinals to make it to the state tournament.
“We’re going to have to beat good teams to go to state,” he said.