RENO — Anson Williams knew he had to be ready to play Friday at the Class 2A state tournament.
Agassi Prep's boys basketball team is glad is he was.
Williams tallied 19 points, including 11 in the second half, to help the Stars (26-5) overcome a slow start and early deficit and work their way to a second straight state title game with a 61-55 win over Pershing County at North Valleys High.
“He came to play,” Agassi Prep coach Wendell West said of Williams. “Kalinn (Jackson) just couldn’t get a shot to fall, and he picked him up.”
Terrell Kemp tallied eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Stars, who trailed 12-7 after one quarter and 24-20 at the half.
“Early in the game, we got caught playing their game,” West said. “When we got the lead, the whole game changed. They had to play at our pace, and we were able to speed up the game.”
Sergio Gonzalez led Pershing County (25-7) with 12 points.
Agassi Prep advanced to Saturday’s 2A state final against Agassi Prep at 7:45 p.m. at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center.
West Wendover 65, The Meadows 62 — A funeral-like silence filled The Meadows’ boys basketball team’s locker room Friday night.
Cheers of postseason joy rang out from inside the West Wendover locker room next door.
“A lot of disappointment,” said The Meadows senior Garrett Gosse, fighting back tears. “We had a really good team, and we had a shot.”
The Meadows led by nine points early in the third quarter, but was unable to finish in loss to West Wendover in the other 2A semifinal at North Valleys.
The Mustangs (22-7) entered the state tournament confident after winning their first 2A Southern League tourney title since 2006-07, but left with broken hearts.
West Wendover (23-6) rattled off a 30-10 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to build a 57-46 lead, and held on for the win.
“We had some blown assignments defensively,” The Meadows coach Gary Hannig said. “They went to a zone and changed the tempo of the game up a little bit, and we didn’t shoot very well tonight.”
The Meadows was held to 24-for-68 shooting (35.3 percent).
Gosse hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to bring The Meadows within 64-62 in the final minute, but Avery Arrien made 1 of 2 free throws with 13.6 seconds left to make it 65-62.
The Meadows’ Matt Biafore missed a 3-pointer from the right side in the closing seconds, but West Wendover was quickly called for a travel after grabbing the rebound.
The clock was adjusted to 0.5 seconds remaining, and Adam Aziz inbounded the ball from the baseline to Biafore on the left wing. Biafore’s attempt at a possible tying 3-pointer missed as time expired.
“At the end, we had only 0.5 to diagram a play for (Gosse), and if he wasn’t there, it was Matt in the corner,” Hannig said. “He actually got a good look at the basket, but it’s a tough shot with 0.5 to go.”
Gosse was held scoreless until 2:55 remained in the first half, but the four-year starting forward finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Point guard Max Newman, another four-year starter for the Mustangs, had 15 points and four assists.
“They won a lot of games, and I’m glad they got to compete for a state championship,” Hannig said. “We wish it had ended differently, but we’re going to miss them tremendously.”
Aziz had 10 points and five rebounds for The Meadows, which shot 10-for-19 from the free-throw line.
Sean McGahey had 17 points and nine rebounds for West Wendover. He buried 3-pointers from opposite sides of the court on consecutive possessions early in the fourth quarter to extend the Wolverines’ lead to 50-41.
“He’s a great shooter. We knew that coming in,” Gosse said of McGahey, who hit four 3-pointers. “We gave him a little too much room, and he made us pay.”