LINCOLN — Eric Behrens doesn't remember if he got anything at the store that day.
He only remembers the 6-foot-5 13-year-old shooting hoops across the street.
“I thought 'I better check this out,'” the Omaha Central coach said.
Leaving the Habitat ReStore shop on 24th and Leavenworth, Behrens spotted the tall kid on the apartment complex's court across the street.
It turned into the first conversation between Behrens and the player with the most state tournament wins in Nebraska boys basketball history.
“My kids are still giving me a hard time about that,” Behrens said.
With his daughter, son and son's friend in the car, Behrens flipped a U-turn. The landlord in him may have been the reason Behrens was there, but the basketball coach in him had to know more.
He called the kid over.
How old are you?
To say the rest is history may be oversimplifying it. To call the pairing historic isn't.
When Akoy Agau cut the net off the east basket inside the Devaney Center on Saturday afternoon, he capped the most successful Class A basketball career in Nebraska. Ever.
The 69-44 rout of Papillion-La Vista for the Eagles' fourth consecutive championship was Agau's 12th win in as many games at state, something no one else has done in the state's biggest class.
“It's always been about winning,” Behrens said. “That's why we got along so well.”
Agau's last high school game was a fitting ending. There wasn't a dominant stat line — eight points, five rebounds — other than his eight blocks. It wasn't a triple-double in the final like last year.
But the Eagles won easily. They again wore gold medals and doused their coach with water in the locker room.
“I'm blessed to be a part of it,” Agau said. “It doesn't get any better than that. There's nothing more I can do than that.”
During the postgame festivities, Agau looked around, crouched down, pulled his shirt over his face and did something he said he's only done one other time on the court.
He cried. And he cried hard.
“I just started bawling,” he said. “It was sad, it was happy. It was all the emotions mixed together.”
He'll go to Louisville next year to play for Rick Pitino, one of the most famous college coaches of all time. There will be big plays in big games, maybe a few more championships.
But one last time Saturday, the king of Devaney Center held court. He set the tone with six first-quarter blocks as Central began its push early.
“Winning is what's most important to him,” Papio coach Jason Ryan said. “That's what I think makes him special.”
And he's done plenty of it. As a freshman, he hit the game-winner with five seconds left in the semifinals. A night later, he finished a block short of a triple-double.
Behrens remembers the look on Agau's face before that championship game.
“He was nervous,” Behrens said. “That Norfolk (crowd) was to the ceiling. If you ever see it, it was maroon all the way up. He walked out and was like 'whoa.' You could see it on his face.
“But he played great.”
Believe it or not, it was more than a year earlier that Agau began crafting his legacy.
“I started thinking about that in eighth grade,” he said. “Since then I said 'four in a row.' That was the start of it.”
Trying to quantify Agau's importance to Central — on and off the court — is impossible. But if there's a Mount Rushmore of hoops players at the school, you can bet that wide, toothy smile is on it, Behrens said.
And it's front and center.
“He's meant a lot to me,” he said. “He's meant a lot to the program. He's been the face of the program.
“And it's had some faces.”
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