Agassi Prep boys basketball coach Trevor Diggs yelled one thing to his team following the national anthem and opening announcements.
“No let up. You hear me?” he shouted to his players in a tight huddle.
Diggs’ words resonated loudly with the Stars, who opened up a 20-point lead in the first quarter and went on to rout The Meadows 68-28 in the Division III Southern League final at Spring Valley. Agassi Prep, the defending state champions, won its second consecutive region championship and 43rd straight game dating back to Jan. 4, 2014.
Both teams advance to next week’s state tournament.
“I preach that to them every game,” Diggs said. “No let up. I don’t care if we’re up 20, or we’re up 40. You have to play the same. You have to play with intensity. You have to play hard. You have to go after the rebounds. That one rebound you miss could cost us the state championship. That one gamble you did could cost us the state championship. We’ve got to stay solid every play.”
Agassi Prep opened up a 24-4 lead in the first six minutes of the game, and never let up.
The Stars, who forced 15 first-half turnovers, took a 36-17 lead at the half by holding The Meadows to 6-for-20 from the field. The Meadows finished with 27 turnovers.
“I loved the defense,” Diggs said. “A lot of effort, a lot of heart. That’s what we try to do. We’re not necessarily trying to get steals. We’re trying to pile the pressure. That’s what I preach. Defense wins championships. I don’t care what level. If you can’t defend, you can’t win.”
The pressure never stopped as The Meadows made just five field goals in the second half.
Agassi Prep held a 62-22 advantage with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter to trigger a running clock.
Deishuan Booker led four double-figure scorers with 18 points for the Stars. He also had eight steals and six assists for Agassi Prep, which finished 26 of 51 (51 percent) from the field.
“It’s no secret Deishuan is one of the best players in the state,” Diggs said. “But we have a solid group of guys. Guys contribute, from freshman to all of the seniors. We have a good team this year.
“It was a great team effort. That Meadows team is tough. They’ve got some guys over there and they’re well-coached. But we make it hard for them.”
Darius Coaxum scored 12 points, Kenneth Hatano 11 and Dennis Walker 10 for Agassi Prep (24-0). Walker added seven rebounds and three steals.
Max Hisatake had 10 points and seven rebounds to lead The Meadows. Ethan Fridman, one of the team’s top scorers, left in the first quarter with a lower back injury for the Mustangs (17-8).