Summers County had a good strategy against Westside Thursday night in a Class AA Region 3 co-final.
The Bobcats planned to work the ball, pull the Renegades' defense out a bit and find space for Candace Brown to drive to the basket.
Westside had other ideas, however.
The Renegades rode the 3-point shooting of senior guard Cheyanna Lusk out to a 13-2 lead, forcing Summers to scrap its slowdown, and rolled on to win 70-51.
The victory puts Westside into next week's state tournament, and also ended Summers County's bid for a sixth consecutive state championship.
"We respect Summers and coach (Wayne) Ryan so much," coach Jamie Lusk said. "It's an honor to match up against them. I'm so proud our girls stepped up and made the plays."
Cheyanna Lusk came out firing, getting two 3s as Westside went up 22-8 by the first quarter's end, and then hitting another on the Renegades' first possession of the second quarter.
"I knew we needed shots tonight and put points on the board," she said. "They left me open, and I had confidence in my shot, and I was knocking them down.
"Once I hit that first shot, I knew it was on, and I could hit any shot I put up."
Lusk finished with 22 points on five 3-pointers and 5 of 6 foul shooting. She also led the Renegades in rebounding with seven.
"Cheyanna has not hit many 3s this year, but she's been working extremely hard in practice on her shot," Jamie Lusk said. "I knew it was coming, and she picked the right game to do it. She's a competitor."
While Lusk was dead-on with her outside shooting, the Bobcats' Brown — the nation's co-scoring leader with a 37-point average — struggled to get her shots to fall.
She had just two baskets, and seven points, by halftime. With Brown cold from the floor, Summers continued to fall behind and trailed 39-21 at halftime.
"When they hit their first three or four shots, that put us behind the eight ball and we didn't get to do some of the things we wanted to do," Summers' Ryan said. "Candace's back has been hurting her. You could see she wasn't herself."
Westside had problems as well. The Renegades were in foul trouble from the get-go, and freshman center Hope Lester probably played just a third of the game. Senior sharpshooter Tori Patrick spent much of the first half on the bench as well.
Their bench came through, however, with 19 points, including seven from Faith Davis and six from fellow guard Danielle .
"We have balance. The girls have come off the bench and give us huge minutes," Jamie Lusk said. "I thought Faith did a great job guarding Candace."
Summers did not roll over and play dead. Sophomore center Brandy Morrison scored nine points to go with 13 rebounds, and freshman guard Avery Pivont came in for eight points.
Brown caught fire late, scoring 15 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter.
"They were all five on me. When I'd try to get the bucket, they'd surround me," Brown said. "I was the only one attacking the bucket, so it was a smart strategy."
Cheyanna Lusk added another three in the half, Patrick scored eight of her 14 points in the second half and junior guard Morgan Spolarch had some key steals as Westside refused to buckle. Lester finished with 11 points.
The Renegades will make their fourth trip to states under Jamie Lusk.
"These girls have come together so much. That's what we're the most proud of," Lusk said.
"Westside has got the most talent in the state and the most depth in the state," Ryan said. "They have an outstanding team.
"We've had a lot of adversity but we had an outstanding year. We had players on the floor we didn't anticipate having to play, but Candace had had a tremendous year.
"We've got to get growing. I know it won't sit well with our players that we won't be in the state tournament. Hopefully that will motivate us."
Haley Shrewsbury 0 0-0 0, Avery Pivont 4 0-1 8, Tyra Wynes 2 0-0 4, Candace Brown 9 8-10 27, Lashae Bonds 1 1-2 3, Brandy Morrison 4 1-9 9, Brittany Bonds 0 0-0 0, Emily Smith 0 0-0 0, Shelby Smith 0 0-0 0, Abby Taylor 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 10-22 51.
Morgan Spolarich 2 0-1 4, Tori Patrick 3 7-9 14, Cheyanna Lusk
6 5-6 22, Makinsey Davis 0 0-0 0, Hope Lester 5 1-1 11, Megan Endicott 2 0-0 4, Danielle Brown 3 0-2 6, Faith Davis 2 3-4 7, Kristin Hash 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 16-23 70.
Summers County...........8 13 15 17 — 51
Westside......................22 17 20 11 — 70
3-point goals: SC 1 (Brown), WS 6 (Patrick 1, Lusk 5). Fouled out: Shrewsbury.
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