Agassi Prep’s Kalinn Jackson felt if his team could jump out to a fast start Tuesday against Lincoln County, the Stars would pull off a win.
The junior swingman’s feeling was correct, and he played a big role in the Stars’ undefeated start in league play.
Agassi Prep raced to an early 25-12 lead and held on for an 82-73 home win over the Lynx in a battle of unbeaten teams in the Class 2A Southern League.
“I knew in this game, whoever came out stronger in the first half, that was going to determine who won the game,” Jackson said. “We just came out and handled our business.”
Jackson scored nine of his 21 points in the first half, which ended with Agassi Prep (7-3, 4-0) holding a 39-29 lead.
Jackson has given the Stars a solid third option on the wing to complement the inside duo of senior Quincy Brown and junior Anson Williams.
Brown led Agassi Prep with 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Williams supplied 18 points and 10 rebounds.
“The way we did it was getting it inside and playing good defense,” Stars coach William Hopkins said of the fast start. “The whole assignment was to win a quarter at a time. I coach them to win each quarter, and they understood that.”
Agassi Prep won each of the first three quarters until Lincoln County (14-4, 2-1) won the final period, 24-17.
Hopkins also praised the defense of senior guard Derreon Whiteside, who helped hold Lincoln County guard Dantley Walker to 27 points.
Walker, a senior who scored 62 points in a 100-97 overtime win over Needles on Friday, had two points in the first quarter.
“We wanted to take the ball out of Dantley’s hands,” Hopkins said. “Derreon is a defensive nut. That’s his strength.”
Agassi Prep led by as much as 60-43 late in the third quarter. Walker hit a 3-pointer to bring the Lynx within 68-61, but Brown answered with a three-point play with 5:26 left to give the Stars a 71-61 lead.
“It’s a pretty big (win),” Jackson said. “We’ve been working hard in practice, coming in at 6 a.m., trying to make it to state. We’re just playing hard every day.”
Sophomore forward Chandler Katschke had 27 points and six rebounds for Lincoln County. Ryan Rippetoe added 15 points for the Lynx.
Walker finished with 27 points, 10 assists and two steals.
He increased his career point total to 2,744, which is second in state history only to Portland Trail Blazers rookie Luke Babbitt, who scored 2,941 points at Galena from 2005 to 2008.
Walker, who became the state’s all-time leader in assists earlier this season, also increased his career total to 734.