The Agassi Prep team that finished Wednesday’s game barely resembled the girls basketball team that started it.
The Stars overcame a 13-point deficit, turned it into a nine-point lead and eventually held on for a 45-44 victory over Marina (Calif.) in the Vegas Invitational at Mountain View.
“In the beginning of the game, I’m not going to lie, we all weren’t mentally ready,” senior Raylene Thomas said. “We got down, but at halftime we were on top of each other. I told them we have to play as a team. We can’t win the game by playing separately. We have to play together, smart and hard.”
Thomas didn’t just say what the Stars needed to do. She went out and showed it.
The center finished with a game-high 18 points, and despite standing just 5 feet, 7½ inches, she also collected 14 rebounds.
“I’m not that tall, and as a post player, I have to do something,” Thomas said. “I put all my strength into rebounds.”
Thomas was unquestionably the star of the night, and she came up big when the team needed her. She was in the middle of a 25-3 run that lasted from the end of the second quarter to midway through the fourth. The Stars were down by as much as 31-18, but her layup to start the fourth quarter knotted the game at 34.
Then it was Thomas who completed a three-point play to give Agassi Prep a 43-34, its biggest of the night.
“She can do that on any given night,” Agassi Prep coach Wendell West said. “The issue is we don’t give her the ball enough. Tonight we were able to get her the ball in the position where she can score and she did what she does.”
Thomas went to the foul line twice in the closing seconds with an opportunity to ice the game. Up by one point, she was fouled with 26 seconds and again with 21 seconds. Though she missed her chances, the Stars rebounded her missed free throws and played keep away as time dwindled down.
Sophomore Sharmayne Finley supplied 10 points for the Stars.
Michelle Esparza led Marina with 14 points.
El Rancho (Calif.) 67, Mojave 24 — Charleea Armstrong scored 11 points for the Rattlers, but they fell to the Dons in the tournament semifinals.
Mojave will play Layton Christian (Utah) in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Amy Navarro led El Rancho with 18 points. Brittany Corona scored 17, and Nicole Mercado added 12 points for the Dons.
Needles 53, River Valley (Ariz.) 30 — Brenna Chavez scored 15 to lead the Mustangs over the Dust Devils.
Preslee Murch scored 13 for the Mustangs, who built a 35-17 halftime lead.
Krista Jackman led River Valley with 18 points.
Brethren Christian (Calif.) 43, Mountain View 40 — The Saints were outscored 20-8 in the fourth quarter as they fell to the Warriors.
Tayah De’Bouck led all scorers with 17 points for the Saints, and teammate Jordan Spriggs scored 14.
Jessica Holloway had 14 points for Bretheren Christian.
Beckman (Calif.) 61, Bonanza 27 — Maysan Raleigh scored 10 for the Bengals but it was not enough as they fell to the Patriots.
Beckman’s Katrina Metcalf led all scorers with 20 points.
Beckman (Calif.) 47, Clark 34 — Adia Williams led the Chargers with 12 points but they fell to the Patriots.
Jacqlyn Paredes scored 20, and Metcalf had 12 points for Beckman.