Westside's Megan Endicott (left) and PikeView's Courtney White chase down a loose ball.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last year, Westside finally broke a string of five straight Class AA championships for Summers County by capturing its first state title in school history.Now the Renegades are working toward establishing a dynasty of their own.No. 1 Westside (24-1) overcame some foul trouble for star player Hope Lester and cruised past No. 8 PikeView 68-41 in a quarterfinal game Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center, beginning the Renegades' title defense.The win was Westside's third over PikeView on the season with a combined margin of victory of 97 points."We had to fight some jitters and some nervousness," Westside coach Jamie Lusk said. "PikeView came ready to play. In that first half they were really getting after us on defense and it was making it tough for us to get good shots. We are happy with the outcome here and I thought we stepped up in the second half, made some good plays and got back to doing what we do well."The Renegades were coasting, up 21-6 and on an 11-0 run in the second quarter when Lester was called for her second foul at the 7:25 mark, forcing her to sit the rest of the first half.Another Davis 3-pointer extended the lead to 24-6, but Westside then closed on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 10 at the break.Unfortunately for PikeView (14-11), Lester returned in full force after halftime, scoring 14 points in the third quarter during a 21-8 run that put the game out of reach for the Renegades.She finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in 20 minutes."I just took my time on my shots," Lester said. "I got good position posting up, I wanted the ball, and I knew if I got it I had to go up strong. They were physical but I knew what I had to do.
"Hope does a good job posting up," Lusk said. "She's strong - she gets in there and she has some of the best hands as far as catching the ball as any big girl I've ever seen. She knows what her role is and knows where she needs to get to to score."PikeView coach Karen Miller said getting Lester into foul trouble was part of the game plan from the start."Even in the second half we were telling the girls to take it into her," Miller said. "But Westside's got some excellent shooters, they're an excellent team, and really, all their girls are shooters."PikeView came into the tournament hot, winning its last six contests after starting 8-10. But once again it just didn't have enough answers to pose any serious threat to the Renegades.The Panthers needed a near perfect game but came up on the short end of a 51-32 rebounding discrepancy, missed all 10 3-point attempts and went just 11 for 23 from the foul line.
Faith Davis and Megan Endicott scored 14 points apiece for the Renegades and helped keep the team afloat while Lester was out.Davis hit a pair of 3-pointers early and was matched up with PikeView guard Hope Nester as part of Westside's box-and-one defense.Nester scored 12 points while Lyndsay Hatfield led the Panthers with 19 points and eight rebounds.The Renegades will play in the semifinals at 7:15 tonight against No. 5 Fairmont Senior. Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.