Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

March 6, 2014

Renegades send PikeView to defeat

CLEAR FORK — Westside head coach Jamie Lusk feels that what separates an athlete from a champion is the will to win, pouring yourself out and leaving your heart on the court in the pursuit of victory.

Thursday night in Clear Fork, Westside's Hope Lester proved just that, igniting the spark in the Lady Renegades offense and carrying No. 2 Westside to a 52-41 win over No. X PikeView for the Region 3 championship.

Lester scored 25 points in the victory, but perhaps the most important came midway through the third quarter.

Despite leading for all of the closely battled contest, Westside led the lead slip with 3:31 left in the third quarter when Madison May slipped through the Lady Renegade defense and laid the ball in the basket. PikeView took a 29-27 lead.

After both teams missed several shots, Lester made a layup to draw it even.

 Just a few moments later, Lester found the ball in her hands under the basket, but uncharacteristically wasn't able to put it away. PikeView pulled down the rebound and began to break down the court, but Lester hunted the ball down, stripped the opponent and put the ball in the hoop, giving the Lady Renegades a 31-29 lead.

The Lady Panthers would never recover.

"It was a great feeling getting the lead," PikeView coach Karen Miller said. "I was just thinking if we could expand on that, we could win the game, but it didn't happen."

Lusk was having his own thoughts whenever he saw his junior post make the quick defensive stop and layup.

"Sweet Jesus, go in!" Lusk said with a laugh.

But maybe even more important was the feeling that the exchange gave Lester.

"After the ball went in, I just got chills when I was running down the court," she said. "I was ready to play and finish the game out."

Lester scored nine of Westside's 20 fourth quarter points.

"She's tough," Miller said of Lester. "When you've got a post player that can take do all of the basics, post up or shoot outside -- it's tough."

Lusk, who has the task of helping develop the young Lester into a Division 1 prospect, gushed when speaking of her athleticism.

"Hope is one of the best athletes I've ever been around," he said. "She's a great basketball player. She could be a great softball player. She could be a great tennis player. Heck, she could be a great football player if she wanted to. She has the will to win."

Perhaps it's that will to win that separates Lester and her teammates from the pack as they embark on another trip to the state tournament, and potentially a third straight state championship appearance.

"It's a mental ability," Lester said. "You have to want to play. You have to work hard. You can't  just have talent, you have to work too. In the end hard work will beat talent when talent won't work."

It's that motivation that fuels Westside as they look for a second state championship in three seasons.

"With this group of girls, we can go down there and take care of business," she said. "I'm ready to go. I want to be back in the state championship game with a win and not a loss."

—jrollins@register-herald.com @JDanielRollins.

at Westside High School

PIKEVIEW (17-5)

Brittany Moore 0 0-0 0, Madison May 5 4-6 16, Hailee Fralin 0 0-0 0, Lauryn Hatfield 3 2-2 8, Crystal Meekisn 0 1-2 1, Maranda Keaton 0 0-0 0, Alexis May 0 0-0 0, Katelyn Odle 0 0-0 0, Lyndsay Hatfield 2 1-2 6, Courtney White 4 2-2 10, Kaleigh Peyton 0 0-0 0, Sarah Robinson 0 0-0 0, Makailah Shrewsbury 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 10-14 41

WESTSIDE (18-3)

Lakyn Walker 0 0-0 0, Faith Davis 3 6-6 12, Kristin Hash 0 0-0 0, Hope Lester 11 3-4 25, Stephanie Brown 1 0-0 2, Megan Endicott 0 0-1 0, Danielle Brown 3 3-4 10, Kenzie Endicott 1 1-2 3, Hope Davis 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19 13-17 52.

PikeView.............................9  14  6 12  —  41

Westside...........................12  15  5  20  — 52

3-Pointers - P: 3 (May 2, Hatfield.) W:1 (D.Brown) Fouled out - none.

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