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Russell’s record-setting effort sends Winfield past Westside, 81-38

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — No. 7 seed Westside hung right with second-seeded Winfield throughout the first half of Wednesday’s Class AA quarterfinal.

With how Generals’ guard ZZ Russell was performing, however, there was no sticking with Winfield for the entirety of the game.

Russell scored 26 of her Class AA state tournament record 41 points after halftime, and Winfield outscored the Renegades by 38 over the final two quarters to earn an 81-38 win.

“We’ve worked hard all season to get to where we are,” Russell said. “I could not achieve what I accomplished without my teammates. We push each other day in and day out. We’ve been all been here before, but we were still a little jittery early. Once we got used to the flow, we took off.”

Although Winfield (24-2) came out playing with a purpose and held a 14-2 lead, Westside (18-8) got the better of the Generals over the final 11-plus minutes of the opening half.

After facing the early double digit deficit, the Renegades settled in and outscored Winfield 26-19 the remainder of the opening half. Westside’s defensive play was a big reason why as it held Winfield to 10-of-34 shooting through two quarters, while Leslie Bailey, Makalya Morgan and Taylor Brown had six points apiece at the break.

“We knew we could play with them and we needed that spark,” Bailey said. “We just had to give it all we had.”

But that all changed to start the second half, with Kierstyn Doss connecting on a three-pointer and Russell converting back-to-back layups to make it 40-28 just 1:06 into the second half.

“These girls played so well together as a team,” Winfield coach Kelsey Spang said.

Game Highlights

Russell had 19 points at that stage, but was just getting started. She scored 16 more points the quarter, making six field goals and all four of her free throws to help the Generals take a 60-34 lead into the fourth.

“We wanted to change it up at halftime and going from a fullcourt man-to-man press to more of a halfcourt trap allowed us to really trap, get steals and get things on the run,” Spang said.

Russell made 13-of-28 shots, including 10-of-16 in the second half during her record-setting performance. She added five steals, five rebounds and four assists.

Emily Hudson added 14 points and a team-best 15 rebounds in the win, while Lauren Hudson totaled 10 points and 11 boards.

“(ZZ) matched up well and she can use her body in the post,” Emily Hudson said. “We’ve seen it in practice. We knew she was hot, so why not get it in her hands?”

Bailey, Morgan and Riana Kenneda led Westside with eight points apiece.

The Renegades made only 2-of-24 field goal attempts after halftime.

“We came out flat in the second half,” Westside coach Darren Thomas said. “We didn’t make shots and had a lot of turnovers.”

Winfield postgame press conference

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