Jake Epstein led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points, and The Meadows boys basketball team held off a furious rally by Yerington to earn a 52-50 win in a Division III state semifinal at Sunrise Mountain on Friday.
The Mustangs (18-8) will play Agassi Prep (25-0) at 8:10 p.m. Saturday at Orleans Arena
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 up 47-39 with 2:35 to play.
“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.
Koby Foster hit three free throws to cut The Meadows’ lead to 51-50 with 4.8 seconds left.
Epstein hit 1 of 2 free throws with 3.7 seconds left, and Foster’s 3-point attempt caromed off the rim at the buzzer.
“Everybody had a little bit of hand in it and it’s been that way all year,” Hannig said. “We had a couple of starters foul out and we had to have part of our bench finish it off for us, so like I said, it was a real team effort.”
Ramirez led Yerington (24-5) with 14 points. Foster and Matthew Brannan each scored 10.
Agassi Prep 96, Incline 74 — Deishuan Booker had 27 points and 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.
Jack Clouthier scorred 26 points to lead Incline (20-6), and teammate Tommy Thompson scored 13.