High-scoring point guard Deishuan Booker has carried Agassi Prep’s offense all season.
On Tuesday, the Stars rode their big men.
Dennis Walker and Wa’T Manor combined for 26 points and 17 rebounds in the second half to help Agassi Prep rally for a 58-52 boys basketball victory over host The Meadows.
“The biggest difference was our bigs in the second half,” Agassi Prep coach Trevor Diggs said. “We took the ball to them inside and really took control of the game that way.”
The Mustangs (20-6, 10-2 Division III Southern League) built a 40-28 lead on a transition bucket by Ethan Fridman with 3:33 to go in the third quarter. But the 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound Walker and Manor (6-3, 265) took over, pounding the glass for offensive rebounds and helping the Stars (20-1, 12-0) score eight second-chance points the rest of the quarter to cut the lead to 44-37.
“I told them you can’t just wait for the rebound,” Diggs said. “‘You guys are big enough and athletic enough to go get the ball. You want the ball, go get it.’ They went and got the offensive rebounds that turned the game around.”
Booker struggled to get going offensively against the Mustangs. The Meadows guard Jake Epstein shadowed Booker wherever he went, and the Mustangs were quick to help in man-to-man and box-and-one sets.
“They did exactly what they were supposed to do,” Diggs said. “Any good team (that) has a good player, you try to take their best player out of the game, and they did that.”
But Booker did ignite a 9-2 Stars run to start the fourth quarter. He hit a 3-pointer, his only field goal of the second half, to cut the lead to 44-40 to start the quarter. He then blocked a Brian Fridman shot on the other end, corralled the rebound and pushed the ball down the court, dishing to Manor for an open layup that cut the lead to two.
Manor’s stick-back with 4:38 to go gave the Stars a 48-47 lead, and they wouldn’t trail again.
Walker finished with 22 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots. Manor had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Booker finished with 10 points, five rebounds and seven assists for the Stars, who locked up at least a share of the Southern League title and the league’s top playoff seed.
Matthew Biafore led The Meadows with 11 points.
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at (702) 380-4587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.