Jake Epstein led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points, and The Meadows boys basketball team held off a furious rally by Yerington to claim a 52-50 win in a Division III state semifinal Friday at Sunrise Mountain.
The Mustangs (18-8) will play Agassi Prep (25-0) at 8:10 p.m. today at Orleans Arena for the state title. The Stars whipped Incline 96-74 for their 44th straight victory. They have beaten The Meadows three times this season.
Max Hisatake added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Ethan Fridman had 10 points for The Meadows.
“Jake is our leading scorer, but we’ve had four guys averaging double figures, so we’re a real balanced team. Max played great, and he dominated,” Mustangs coach Gary Hannig said. “They have a good big guy, too, but I thought Max played phenomenal, especially in the first half. They couldn’t defend on him on the block, and we were able to penetrate and kick to the corner and really knock down some big shots. It really was a team effort.”
The Mustangs went ahead by eight twice early in the fourth quarter, but the Lions responded to pull within 40-39 with 4:11 left.
Epstein drained three free throws with 4:02 left, sparking a 7-0 run to put the Mustangs back up by eight with 2:35 left.
“After that, everyone else started getting open, so once I started attacking, I could kick to open shooters, like Asheesh (Chopra) and Ethan, and then Max was open in the middle,” Epstein said.
Yerington refused to go away. Bryan Ramirez hit a 12-footer to start another run that closed the gap to 49-45 with 17.6 seconds left.
After the teams traded baskets, Koby Foster hit three free throws to cut The Meadows’ lead to 51-50 with 4.8 seconds left.
Epstein hit one of two free throws with 3.7 seconds left, and Foster’s 3-point attempt caromed off the rim at the buzzer.
Ramirez led Yerington (24-5) with 14 points. Foster and Matthew Brannan each scored 10.
■ Agassi Prep 96, Incline 74 — Deishuan Booker scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Stars over the Highlanders.
Jordan Smith added 15 points, and Kobe Williams scored 14 for the Stars, who got 11 points apiece from Akeemis Williams and Dennis Walker.
Incline (20-6) was led by Jack Clouthier’s 26 points, and Tommy Thompson scored 13.
Brenna Chavez scored 12 points, and Needles built a big lead through three quarters and held on to edge Pershing County 39-35 in a state semifinal.
Needles (25-6), which led 35-19 after three quarters, will meet White Pine (18-3) in the final at 6:20 p.m. today at Orleans Arena.
“Our bench played a tremendous game today, getting on the loose balls, rebounding and doing the little things,” Needles coach Manuel Calderon said. “It was a tremendous win for us.”
Taryn Houston scored 20 points to lead Pershing County (20-9).
■ White Pine 49, Incline 40 — Debra Kingston scored 13 of her 16 points in the first half and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Bobcats past the Highlanders.
Kingston scored five points in the final three minutes of the first half to help White Pine to a 19-15 halftime lead.
In the second half, Jaden Ernest provided a spark for the Bobcats, hitting four 3-pointers to extend the lead. Ernest finished with 13 points. Ashlyn Huntington scored nine of her 10 points in the second half and had six assists for White Pine.
Kira Porter scored 22 points to lead Incline (20-5), which also got 11 points from Molly Franklin.