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Boys basketball: Deficit no match for Pershing County in Division III state semifinals


12:00 AM, Feb. 23, 2013 EST

Pershing County's Seth Montes splits the Agassi Prep defense during a Division III state semifinal game. / Stephen Sylvanie/Special to the RGJ

LAS VEGAS — 

Pershing County didn't have to look far on how to handle a late playoff deficit.

The Mustangs rallied from down 11 in last week's regional and were on the other end of a comeback in last year's state tournament.

Pershing County on Friday repaid Agassi Prep for that loss with a big fourth quarter and a 53-45 victory in the boys Division III state semifinals at the Orleans Arena.

The Mustangs trailed by seven late in the third quarter and by five to start the fourth, but were efficient offensively and held the Stars to one field goal in the final period to move one win from their first state championship in 48 years.

"I knew we were still in the game," Pershing County junior Randolph McLean said. "We were down 11 last week and we came back. We don't give up and we like to stay in it until the end."

The Mustangs will play Lincoln County in this afternoon's championship game.

The Mustangs' last title was in 1965.

"It's state, it's the biggest level. It's kind of payback for last year," McLean said, referring to Agassi's fourth-quarter rally in last year's semifinals.

Seth Montes and Jacob Adams led Pershing County's comeback, in which the Mustangs outscored Agassi 21-8 in the final period.

Montes scored eight of his 18 in the period and Adams tallied six of his 12.

"Just be patient with the offense. Don't take bad shots," Mustangs coach Lance Condie said of his pep talk between the third and fourth quarters. "We'll live with what we're doing."

The Mustangs started the fourth on a 9-1 run and didn't give up a field goal until 1 minute, 8 seconds remained in the fourth.

"We just played hard 'D,' got in their face and contested all shots," McLean said.

Agassi helped with questionable shot selection.

"We pushed to a lead and then we got comfortable. They went on a run and we didn't respond," Agassi coach Wendell West said.

"We were trying to hit the home run shot, instead of just trying to get a decent basket. Everybody wanted to be a hero and it bit us in the butt."

Layne Chambers added 12 points for the Mustangs, who advance to the title game after being the North's top seed two straight years.

"It's nice, really nice," Condie said.

"This team has worked hard and it's kind of a fairy-tale story right now because I didn't think we'd be here in the first place."

LINCOLN COUNTY 64, SILVER STAGE 44: The Nighthawks' run from a 0-26 season two years ago ended with a loss but not before the program's first state tournament appearance in school history.

"We're not going to hold our heads down; we're not going to be ashamed of this loss," Silver Stage coach Herman Pugh said. "Not where we came from.

"When they first came out, the big lights hit 'em, took them until the second half to actually wake up and start playing our basketball."

Silver Stage trailed by six after one quarter and by 14 at halftime before it cut the deficit to eight early in the fourth quarter. The Lynx pulled away behind 21 points from Chandler Katschke and 20 from Ryan Rippetoe.

Michael Swope led the Nighthawks with 15 points, and Dillion Ventress had 12.

 

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