The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 22, 2013

Westside claims sectional crown

Lady Renegades one win from return to state tournament

CLEAR FORK — When two of the most successful girls basketball teams in recent state history meet, expect a dynamic atmosphere.

That’s exactly what happened Thursday night at Westside when the Class AA No. 1 Lady Renegades (21-1) took on the No. 10 Summers County Lady Bobcats (14-9) in the Region 3, Section 1 championship.

The two teams met a week ago in Hinton in a game the Lady Renegades won by 40 points, 91-51, and while not as spotless of a game for Westside, the result this time was much of the same this time around, with the home team winning 77-42.

Coach Jamie Lusk’s team has been on a tear since losing in the Big Atlantic Classic to University. In the eight games since, the Lady Renegades have outscored their opponents 646-256.

“Anytime you can beat teams like we’ve beat in the last two weeks — Summers County and Logan, who beat (Class AAA No. 3) Huntington last night — is a good thing,” Lusk said.

“To know we can beat teams with those kind of abilities, that play good defense and still score, it helps get us ready for the next two weeks and hopefully a trip to the tournament.”

Lusk grinned from ear-to-ear when talking about his team and the chemistry that has been built this season.

“This group is a family, not just because we have three groups of sister,” he said with a laugh. “They trust each other. They do things together. It’s helping us perform at the level we’ve been performing at.”

One standout performance for the Lady Renegades came from 6-foot junior Megan Endicott, who was named the section’s Most Valuable Player during the tournament.

Megan was doing everything.

Grabbing rebounds.

Scoring baskets.

Blocking shots.

She even sang the Star Spangled Banner before the game with her sister Mackenzie.

It’s been a long road for Endicott, who was, as she explained, “terrible” as a freshman and has morphed into another weapon on an already loaded Lady Renegade squad.

“Starting my freshman year, it was horrible; I didn’t make even make the varsity,” Endicott said with a laugh. “Coach Jamie (Lusk) is a great coach. He knows how to motivate us. It’s great to know that because of that and the hard work I’ve come from being very bad to being named most valuable player.”

“Megan’s a very hard worker. She does everything in the offseason she’s supposed to be doing,” Lusk said. “It’s paying off. She battles. She’s strong. She’s quick. She knows what her role is.”

That role has increased in recent games. While most teams are double-teaming star player Hope Lester, it’s leaving Megan open.

“I’ve been finishing my shots much better than I normally do,” Endicott said. “No doubt, that helped me win this game with my team and win this award.”

Endicott finished the game with 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Lady Bobcats have faced their share of adversity this season, losing several players to injury, but they feel they’re primed and ready to make a run of their own toward another state championship.

“We took care of our business on Tuesday night,” Summers coach Wayne Ryan said. “We’re going to keep moving forward and prepare for that. The best team in class AA was in this gym tonight and in this region. Westside’s a very good team.”

Westside and Summers County will advance to the Region 3 tournament next week.

----------

The all-tournament team was awarded following the game. Liberty’s Stacy Williams, Independence’s Emily Fedukovich and Kelsey Hart, Wyoming East’s Hannah Ford and Chelsea Duncan, Summers County’s Tyra Wynes, Avery Pivont, Brandy Morrison and Westside’s Hope Lester, Danielle Brown, Morgan Spolarich and Megan Endicott were named to the team.

— Email: jrollins@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.

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