CLEAR FORK —
Summers County and Westside came into Thursday night’s clash of two of the top five teams in Class AA on short rest. Both teams had played the night before, but experienced two very different results.
The No. 4 Lady Renegades were defeated 62-57 at the hands of Logan, while the No. 2 Lady Bobcats thrashed Valley 92-8 in Hinton.
But Thursday night, neither team would experience the same result.
Westside controlled every aspect of the game, easily defeating the nine-time state champion Lady Bobcats 75-42.
“I thought Westside pretty much beat us in every aspect of the game,” Summers County coach Wayne Ryan said. “They played harder and played with an edge that we didn’t bring. Therefore, the result was that they gave us a pretty good whipping.”
The game remained close through the first eight minutes of the contest, with Westside going into the second quarter with a 17-13 lead.
However, the flood gates opened in Clear Fork, with Westside outscoring Summers County 21-1 in the second quarter to put the game out of reach.
“We had to go a little deeper on the bench (in the second quarter),” Ryan said. “We didn’t play very well. We also uncharacteristically turned the ball over more than we normally do, so that kind of steamrolled us.”
Westside did as it’s done all year, forcing turnovers and getting in open space to either slash to the bucket or draw the fall. The Lady Renegades went to the line 32 times in the contest, converting 23 of them.
“If you don’t stop Westside in transition, they’re going to beat anybody,” Ryan said. “We didn’t stop them in transition at all. How much of their offense came from transition or us fouling them in transition? That’s 30 points. It could have been a battle for us, but we chose for not to be.”
“We’re a good passing team,” Westside coach Jamie Lusk said. “We try to find each other and when we do, we push the ball up the floor in transition. That’s a part of our game.”
Another big part of the Westside offense was the play of first-team all-stater Hope Lester. Lester finished the night with 21 points and a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe.
“Hope’s a great player,” Lusk said. “She does a lot of things for us. She’s a great rebounder and a great passer and a great ball handler. She’s a scorer.”
Lester wasn’t the only Lady Renegade doing damage. Senior guard Faith Davis finished with 20 points, while Danielle Brown had 14.
“Our guards have really been stepping up,” said Lusk. “Danielle and Faith have really stepped up and become scorers for us. That’s what makes us dangerous is when those two girls step up and do their thing.”
Both coaches, who have traded victories this season, hope it won’t be the last the two teams meet. Westside is seeded No. 1 and Summers County No. 2 in the Region 3, Section 2 tournament, which begins Saturday night with a play-in game between No. 4 Independence and No. 5 Liberty.
Lusk hopes his team can carry the momentum through the sectional and possibly make its third straight trip to the state championship game.
“We’ve just got to keep playing smart and playing defense with our feet and not our hands,” he said. “Summers County is a great foul shooting team, and you can’t let them go to the line. That’s something we’ve learned. We’ve got to keep motivated and keep playing with intensity. We’ve got to keep playing hard.”
Westside will rest until the sectional tournament, while Summers County will travel to Scott on Saturday.
— E-mail: jrollins
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Summers County (17-2)
Avery Pivont 1 2-4 4, Abby Taylor 1 1-2 3, Brennah Davis 2 0-1 4, Audrey Holley 1 0-0 2, Brittney Justice 1 6-7 8, Brandy Morrison 3 3-4 9, Whittney Justice 3 6-7 12. Totals: 12 18-25 42.
Lakyn Walker 1 0-0 3, Faith Davis 4 11-14 20, Kristin Hash 3 0-2 6, Hope Lester 6 7-7 21, Stephanie Brown 1 1-2 3, Megan Endicott 0 0-0 0, Danielle Brown 5 2-2 14, Mackenzie Endicott 2 0-0 4, Hope Davis 1 2-3 4 Totals: 23 23-32 75.
SC 13 1 16 12 — 42
W 17 21 23 14 — 75
3-point goals — SC: None; W: 6 (F. Davis 2, Brown 2, Lester, Walker). Fouled out — Players.�