Agassi Prep boys basketball coach Wendell West doesn’t need to be reminded that his team was decimated by graduation after last season.
After finishing second in the Class 2A state tournament, the Stars lost 14 seniors. But that hasn’t put a damper on their main objective this season.
“Our goal every year is to get to state,” West said. “What it takes is hard work. We’ve got to come out here and do it every day — no days off.”
If Saturday’s performance is an indication, West’s youthful bunch has no plans of letting up.
With two lengthy runs, the Stars exhibited their athleticism and frontcourt dominance to sprint past Laughlin 73-50 in a Division III Southern League game.
Agassi Prep (3-5, 2-0) converted four 3-pointers in the first quarter and forced 10 turnovers to go up 20-2.
“We knocked down a couple of 3s early, and that opened up things inside,” said West, in his second season coaching the Stars. “The defense went after it, getting loose balls and diving on the floor.”
A first-quarter scoring drought of more than six minutes plagued the Cougars, who shot 1 of 8 from the field in the period.
Laughlin (1-2, 0-2) hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the second quarter to pull within nine points. But that’s as close as the Cougars got.
Agassi Prep called on Dennis Walker, a 6-foot-4-inch sophomore, to control the glass for much of the first half and into the third quarter. The forward registered 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Stars used a 16-4 run in the third quarter, highlighted by consecutive turnaround jumpers from Darius Coaxum, to put the game out of reach.
Sophomore Steven Jones had a game-high 15 points, converting 3 of 5 3-point attempts for Agassi Prep. The Stars also received eight points apiece from Coaxum, Wa’t Manor and Kobe Williams.
“We’re just trying to follow in the footsteps of last year’s team,” Williams said. “We’re young, but we feel like we have enough talent to do what they did.”
Averie Prosise scored 15 points and Brett Smith 10 for Laughlin.