Agassi Prep’s Kalinn Jackson had something to prove on Saturday.
The first time the Stars met The Meadows, Jackson was benched after halftime for what he called “a couple mistakes,” and the Mustangs beat Agassi by six points in overtime.
On Saturday, Jackson made his presence felt from start to finish, as he had 32 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead the Stars to a 74-55 home win to clinch the Class 2A Southern League title.
“He came to the gym early this morning and was focused, got a lot of shots up early and was ready to play,” Agassi Prep coach Wendell West said. “He felt like he had something to prove against (Garrett Gosse), seeing that (Gosse) is probably one of the top players in our conference, and he wanted to come and play well against him.”
Jackson was on fire from the perimeter in the first half, going 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and totaling 15 first-half points to help the Stars (21-4, 13-1 2A Southern League) take a 33-24 lead at the break.
The Stars also did an outstanding job on Gosse, the Mustangs’ leading scorer. Gosse scored 32 points the first time the teams played but was held without a field goal in the first half, scoring just three points in the opening 16 minutes.
“We just wanted to be aggressive on defense,” West said. “We wanted every shot he took to be a contested shot. We wanted to see a double team every time he put the ball on the floor. We did a good job of that in the first half.”
Jackson did more of his damage around the basket in the second half, helping the Stars pull away.
The Meadows (20-6, 12-2) got as close as three points in the third quarter, the last time on a basket by Brandon Rufty that made it 41-38 with 3:24 to go in the period.
But a three-point play by Terrell Kemp started an 11-2 run that helped Agassi push the lead to double figures.
“It’s a great feeling,” Jackson said. “Everybody’s been playing hard, working hard. Our whole team, everybody plays hard every game, and we’re going to bring it every game.”
Anson Williams came off the bench to add 14 points and nine rebounds for Agassi, and teammate DeCari Lide scored 10 points.
Gosse finished with 14 points and 17 rebounds but was just 2-for-15 from the field. Max Newman added 10 points for the Mustangs.