Westside captures second Class AA title in three years

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With Hope Lester ruling the lane and Danielle Brown making timely 3-pointers, No. 2 Westside won its second state championship in three years by beating No. 5 Sissonville 43-33 in the Class AA final Saturday.

Lester finished off her dominant tournament with yet another double-double—18 points and a game-high 19 rebounds. Though she didn’t score in the final quarter, the Renegades (21-3) fended off the Indians late.

“My team had my back when my shots were’t falling,” Lester said. “I just wanted to get all the defensive rebounds that I could.”

Down by 10 for much of the third quarter, Sissonville (23-4) cut the margin to 32-31. But Westside responded with a game-ending 11-2 run to preserve the title and end the season on a seven-game winning streak. Brown scored all of her 13 points in the second half and hit two timely 3-pointers.

“I just had keep confidence in my self,” said Brown who was 0-of-6 shooting in the first half. “My coaches told me to find my confidence and keep it, so I shot with confidence.”

Sissonville’s Brittany Gould scored 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting before fouling out.

“We had a hard time getting the ball in where we wanted to be,” Sissonville coach Rich Skeen said. “I don’t think we panicked, I think they made big plays when we made mistakes.”

Madison Jones finished with 11 points but made only 3-of-25 shots.

“I had trouble getting open shots without Karli in the game,” Jones said. “I tried to (drive in and draw fouls), I probably should’ve just pulled up instead.”

The Indians’ Karli Pinkerton, who picked up her fourth foul with 7:30 left in the third quarter and sat out for chunks of the game, was held to just two points. She came in having averaged 15 points in her two previous state tournament wins.

“It was really frustrating, I just wanted to be back out there,” Pinkerton said. “I just cheered my team on and hope they did their best.”

The Indians struggled from the floor, making only 11-of-50 shots (22 percent). Westside, thanks to a second-half surge, finished at 31 percent and endured a rough 10-of-22 day at the foul line. But those stats mattered little as players hugged on the Civic Center court, where their record stands 8-1 during the last three state tournaments.

“I am extremely proud of all of these girls. They’re a great group of young ladies,” Westside coach Jamie Lusk said. “I feel like our experience paid off for us in the second half and we were able to pull away and hit big shots.”

Class AA All-Tournament
Hope Lester – Westside
Lexi Carr – Keyser
Brittany Gould – Sissonville
Madison Jones – Sissonville
Faith Davis – Westside
Lexi Taylor – Keyser
Emily Stoller – Fairmont Senior
Karli Pinkerton – Sissonville

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