DeCari Lide was a role player for Agassi Prep’s boys basketball team during its Class 2A state championship season last year.
The “role” officially is gone from his title as a senior shooting guard.
Lide scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Stars to a 97-73 victory over rival Needles in the semifinals of the Vegas Invitational on Wednesday at Mountain View.
“Last year, I was timid on the perimeter,” Lide said. “Coach (Wendell West) wanted me to step up and take open shots, penetrate, dish, everything. I’ve taken the initiative to work on my inside and outside game, and it flows together.”
Agassi Prep (8-2) advanced to meet St. Joseph (Calif.) in the title game at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Lide scored 18 points in the second half as Agassi Prep dominated the third quarter for the second straight day.
“(Lide) is just giving every bit of energy and effort he has every second he’s out there,” West said. “I can’t ask for any more than that, and it’s showing on the court. He has just been huge for us this year. He’s taken the pressure and going out and playing well.”
Kalinn Jackson made a 3-pointer from the right corner and a layup on consecutive possessions to highlight a 25-9 third-quarter run the Stars used to build a 61-43 lead.
Jackson scored 21 points and Terrell Kemp 14 for Agassi Prep. Darryl Green had 11 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, and Anson Williams added 10 points and three steals.
“After we won the state championship, these guys were dedicated,” said West, in his first year as head coach. “The hard work they put in over the summer is starting to show.”
Agassi Prep overcame a monstrous game by Needles senior center Aaron Burns, who had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Michael Hills supplied 16 points for the Mustangs (9-3), and John Ochoa scored 11.
Agassi Prep has 13 seniors, including its starting five. It’s added up to a hot start that includes three wins over Class 4A foes and a six-game winning streak.
But the Stars still have plenty of motivation. Lide said Agassi Prep is especially determined to win its first Vegas Invitational title after losing in the semifinals to St. Joseph last year.
“We’ve been in the tournament for four years, and we’re just tired of losing,” Lide said. “Every year we get better, and we’re finally in the championship. Senior year, we’ve put it all on the line.”
Rancho 57, The Meadows 55 — Javaoune Robinson banked in a running 3-pointer from halfcourt at the buzzer to give the Rams a thrilling win over the Mustangs.
“I was just trying my best to hope and pray we won that game,” said Robinson, who had nine points and 12 rebounds. “I’m just happy we won.
“That was my first buzzer-beater. When I scored it, I was just excited.”
Ciaran Subira led the Rams with 24 points.
The Meadows’ Garrett Gosse scored in the post to tie the game at 54 in the final minute, then made a free throw with 4.6 seconds left to give the Mustangs a 55-54 lead before Robinson’s game-winner.
Gosse led the Mustangs with 31 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks.
Adam Aziz had 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks for the Mustangs, and Max Newman dished out four assists.
Lake Mead 61, Layton Christian (Utah) 56 — Justin Yamzon made nine 3-pointers on his way to 39 points to help Lake Mead beat Layton Christian.
Yamzon drilled five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in the third quarter, in which Lake Mead outscored Layton Christian 23-14.
Caleb Pitman added 10 points for Lake Mead.
Scifon Shayaka had 11 points and Joe Haugen scored 10 for Layton Christian.
Spring Mountain 60, Mountain View 55 — Roemello Brandon had 21 points, 21 rebounds and two steals as the Eagles downed the Saints.
Tyrice Hall had 15 points, five rebounds and four steals for Spring Mountain, and Marquion White added 14 points.
Joseph Gueverra had 16 points, six rebounds and three steals for Mountain View, which nearly overcame a 50-36 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Trevor Van Kempen and Matthew Larson added eight points apiece for the Saints.
Pahranagat Valley 60, River Valley (Ariz.) 34 — Tyler Higbee scored 20 points as the Panthers defeated the Dust Devils.
Brandon Hollis paced River Valley with seven points.
Tech 48, Calvary Chapel 44 — Josh West (12 points), Dalton Webb (11) and Tyler Walker (11) each scored in double figures to help the Roadrunners edge the Lions.
Bobby Buist scored all 14 of his points in the second half for Calvary Chapel, and Drew Hammond finished with 12 points.