Agassi Prep girls basketball coach Wendell West doesn’t mince words when he gets asked who the best player is in the Class 2A Southern League.
“I believe Sharmayne (Finley) is the Player of the Year,” he said.
Finley, a 5-foot-9-inch sophomore guard, validated the strong endorsement from her coach Friday in the team’s regular season finale.
Finley scored a game-high 26 points and had six rebounds, seven assists and five steals to help the Stars clinch their first league title in school history with a 69-61 home victory over Lincoln County.
“She played like the best player in the league tonight. Enough said,” West said. “She took control of the game — handling the ball, making passes, scoring the ball.”
After being held without a field goal in the first quarter and seeing her team fall behind 16-5, Finley scored 21 points in the middle quarters to rally Agassi Prep (18-3, 15-1 Southern), which overtook first place because it owns the tiebreaker over Needles.
For most of Friday’s game, the Stars looked destined for the second seed. They shot just 22.5 percent in the first half and trailed 33-29 at the break.
“To start the game, we weren’t ready to play,” West said. “Kind of senior night jitters and last game in this building for some of them. We have six seniors from our eight players. It was just a lot of emotions early on.”
Finley, though, made sure the rut didn’t last. She gave the Stars their first lead — at 38-37 — with 4:25 to go in the third quarter after making 2 of 3 free throws. Agassi Prep never trailed again and built a 10-point lead midway through the fourth.
“I’m just feeling excited,” Finley said. “Me and my team had to pull through tonight. We put everything we had into this game so we could get the No. 1 seed and win it for our seniors this year.”
Destiny Rover hit three second-half 3-pointers and finished with 19 points, and Denise Parker added 12 points for the Stars. Parker went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
“It was a huge win for us, especially going into the playoffs next week,” West said. “They fought together. They didn’t get down on each other when we were down. They came together and kept fighting. I’m so proud of my girls.”
Brynlee Wadsworth had 19 points, four rebounds and five assists to lead Lincoln County (16-9, 12-4). Teammate Sadie Soderborg scored 12.
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at email@example.com or 702-383-0430. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.