Incline basketball | Boys lose to undefeated Stars in state semifinal
In the end the Incline boys fell victim to another hot shooting performance.
After losing to a clutch-shooting Yerington squad in the regional championship, the Highlanders came up short against an athletic, offensive-minded Agassi Prep team in the state semifinal round in Las Vegas on Friday.
Led by Deishuan Booker’s 27 points, five Agassi Prep players scored in double figures to help lead the Stars to a 96-74 win.
“I thought we played very well against Agassi. They just have a lot of weapons,” said Incline coach Tim Kelly. “We defended well, but they were on fire.”
Agassi Prep, which defeated Incline in last year’s Division III state championship, went on to complete an undefeated season with a 57-48 win over The Meadows in the title game. The Stars posted a final record of 26-0 and are a combined 51-1 in two seasons under head coach Trevor Diggs.
The Highlanders (20-6) found themselves playing catchup after the Stars stormed out to a 20-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. Agassi Prep stretched its lead to 48-29 by the half and outscored Incline 31-26 in the third quarter to build a 79-55 advantage entering the fourth.
Senior guard Jack Clouthier led the way for the Highlanders. He hit five 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 26 points in his final high school game.
“Jack Clouthier is one of the most fearless young men I’ve ever known,” Kelly said. “It was a great way for him to celebrate his four years playing for Incline.”
Incline senior guard Tommy Thompson added 13 points, Alex Zissis had 10 points and Jack Bessette eight. Cole Steinberg contributed six points and Ben Snyder five.
While the Highlanders finished with a respectable point total, they could not find a way to contain Booker and the Stars.
“Deishuan was really hard to stop,” Kelly said of the 6-foot-3 point guard, who scored 30 points against Incline in last year’s title game. “He was the best player on the floor.”
Booker made 15 of his 16 free-throw attempts, while Agassi Prep was 27-for-33 at the charity stripe. Incline, meanwhile, was 11-for-19 at the free-throw line. Jordan Smith scored 15 points for the Stars, Kobe Williams had 14 points, Akeemis Williams 11 and Dennis Walker 11.
Kelly expects the Highlanders to rebuild after losing nine seniors from this year’s group to graduation.
“They (Incline’s seniors) have started something, and every little kid in town wants to play varsity basketball because of them,” Kelly said. “I’m very proud of our kids and will miss our seniors.”
Yerington, which earned the North’s top seed after defeating Incline in the regional title game, was eliminated with a 52-50 loss to The Meadows in their state semifinal.