Agassi Prep Controls Pace, Upsets Needles

The Needles (Calif.) boys basketball team was nearly untouchable during the regular season, running and gunning to a 14-0 record in the Class 2A Southern League.

But against Agassi Prep on Saturday, the Mustangs’ fast- break game was halted in the championship game of the league tournament at Desert Oasis.

The Stars imposed a halfcourt pace and dominated inside to gain a 74-64 upset victory over Needles to clinch the South’s No. 1 seed for next week’s state tournament.

“We tried to cut their fast break down,” Agassi Prep sophomore post player Quincy Brown said. “We knew if they got their fast break going, it would be an easy win for them.”

Brown had 19 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks to carry Agassi Prep (16-10), which outrebounded Needles 40-22.

“(Brown) had his game tonight,” Stars coach David Claerbaut said. “Good things happen when we get the ball to Quincy.”

DeShawn Battle scored 27 points and Jacoby Whitehead 17 for the Stars.

Agassi Prep will face North No. 2 seed Rite of Passage in a state semifinal at 8 p.m. Friday at Sierra Vista. Needles (29-6) will face North No. 1 Incline in the semifinals at 4:40 p.m.

The final will be at 5 p.m. Saturday at Orleans Arena.

Stevie Kidd had 18 points, six rebounds, five blocks, four assists and three steals for Needles, which had won 19 in a row. Anthony Ramos added 13 points, Darra Russell 12 and Michael Hills 10.

GIRLS

■ Lincoln County 52, Needles 48 — With the Lynx trailing by 14, sophomore Melanie Florence’s strong inside play provided the spark they needed to rally to win the league championship game.

But the winning shot came from the outside, courtesy of junior Marissa Smerek.

Smerek hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining to break a 48-48 tie and lift Lincoln County (25-3) past defending state champion Needles.

Smerek, who had 12 points, had not attempted a 3-pointer until making the winner.

“We just needed a shot, so I took it,” she said.

Florence finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Lynx, who will play North No. 2 seed Incline in the state semifinals at 6:20 p.m. Friday at Sierra Vista.

Miranda Brackett scored 23 for Needles (28-3), which will play North No. 1 Pershing County at 3 p.m. in the other semifinal.

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