(Taylor Kennedy contributed to this report)
MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — In a competitive Class AA state tournament field, Winfield’s opening-round performance in an 81-38 win over Westside was the most lopsided victory in the bracket. Sadly for the Generals, that is where their season ended. In that quarterfinal win, senior guard ZZ Russell set a Class AA state tournament record with 41 points. The tourney was suspended a day later.
“We cried,” Russell said. “As a team, we were like this is not real. We worked so hard to get here.
“Play every game like it is your last game because you never know when something like this happens and you don’t know what to do.”
The Generals went 24-2 this season, advancing to states out of one of the toughest regionals in any classification. With four senior starters in the lineup, Russell says their talent was matched by their team chemistry.
“Coach (Kelsey) Spang would always get mad at us because we would know, we could look at each other and know where we were going to go.
“We knew each other so well off the court that we knew where we were going to go on the court.”
Russell led the Generals in scoring as a senior, averaging 19.2 points per game. She also paced the squad in steals per game with three and a half, showcasing her skill sets at both ends of the floor.
“Sometimes I would be more of an offensive player. Sometimes I would be more of a defensive player. But I pulled them both together.”
Russell will now take her game east on I-64 to West Virginia State, where she will play for head coach Charles Marshall. The Yellow Jackets’ system is almost a carbon copy of what the Generals run with pressure defense and uptempo offense. State was second in the Mountain East Conference this past season in scoring average at 85.4 points per game.
“Throughout high school, we always played a fast-paced game. It was never walking the ball up the court. It was always push it and go, get the ball out of the net, make sure you find the right open person and get layups or 3-point shots. It will be easy for me to adjust to it just because I have been playing like that for four years.”