Dantley Walker scored 45 points Saturday, but Lincoln County’s sophomore guard would trade them all for another try at the free-throw line.
The normally automatic Walker missed four free throws in the final minute, and Agassi Prep clinched a playoff spot in the 2A Southern League with a 70-67 victory over the visiting Lynx.
“I probably haven’t missed that many (free throws) since I started playing basketball,” Walker said. “I just shot them short a little bit.”
Walker put on a long-range shooting exhibition, making 10 3-pointers while hitting 14 of 25 shots overall. He missed two free throws with a minute left, but nailed a 3-pointer after an Agassi Prep turnover to give Lincoln County a 67-66 lead with 51.1 seconds to play.
Quincy Brown put the Stars (12-9, 8-3) ahead 68-67 with 20 seconds left before Walker missed two more at the foul line. Brown then hit 1 of 2 free throws, and Walker’s desperation 3-point try from the left corner hit the side of the backboard.
“Dantley Walker is as good a high school perimeter shooter as I’ve seen in a long time,” Agassi Prep coach David Claerbaut said. “This is a statement game. These teams are evenly matched. We had to protect our home floor and we were able to do it.”
Brown led Agassi Prep with 21 points and 12 rebounds. DeShawn Battle scored 20.
Walker had eight points in the first quarter and exploded for 17 in the second. He scored his team’s final 15 points of the half as Lincoln County (14-10, 9-3) took a 37-30 lead.
A basket by Eric Rippetoe (10 points, nine rebounds) gave Lincoln County its biggest lead, 46-35, midway through the third quarter, but the Stars rallied in the fourth.
Aerontay Shepherd (10 points) capped a 10-0 run with a steal and layup — one of 14 second-half turnovers the Stars forced — to put Agassi Prep ahead 54-53 with 6:14 remaining. The Stars took their biggest lead at 64-60 on a 15-footer by Brown, who had 10 points in the fourth quarter.
“We tried to deny (Walker) the ball and late in the game we doubled him so he had to give it up,” Claerbaut said. “Offensively, the key was patience down the stretch.”