Pressure paid off for Westside.
The AA No. 2 Lady Renegades and No. 7 Scott had met four times since March 2012.
Westside had won them all, but all of the games had been close. Coach Jamie Lusk was looking for an edge.
He found it in the full court press. The Lady Renegades used it effectively to create scoring runs and went on to top the Skyhawks, 56-42, on Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the state tournament in Charleston.
“We looked for something they weren’t expecting,” Lusk commented. “I think it caught them off guard.”
The press spurred an early 8-0 run that gave WHS an 8-1 lead.
Julie Conway and Allie Whitman kept Scott (18-7) close, and it was 11-9 at the end of the first quarter.
The teams exchanged spurts late in the second period. Scott ran off eight straight points to take a 17-14 edge with 2:41 left in the half.
All-stater Hope Lester, who finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, was fouled on a put-back and that three-point play started a Renegade run.
“It makes you a little nervous when you come out on the big floor in front of a big crowd,” Lester said. “In the second half we played with more confidence.”
Kristin Hash had a pair of put backs and a couple of steals as Westside went up, 25-17. It was 25-21 at the break.
“We didn’t shoot well in the first half (22 percent), but in the second half, we started to do things we do well,” Lusk remarked.
Scott pulled within 30-28 early in the third after a Whitman shot bounced high off the rim and then dropped down through. The Skyhawks had a chance to tie but couldn’t convert.
A Faith Davis lay up started a 12-1 Westside blitz, helped again by turnovers created by the press.
“I thought the people at the front (of the press) did a great job,” Lester remarked.
Danielle Brown drove inside for two and sank a three as the lead went to 39-29, and Lester topped the run with a trey.
Scott didn’t get closer than nine after that.
“We expect those girls to make big plays when we need them,” said Lusk.
The Renegades spread the floor to run clock and get to the foul line in the game’s final four-plus minutes.
“We wanted to run clock,” Lusk noted, “and to get Scott tired on defense.”
“They’re a very good team,” said Scott coach John Porter. “They did the stuff they wanted to do, and we couldn’t get into our stuff.
“We didn’t take care of the ball very well,” he added. “Turnovers (29) are what cost us the ball game.”
Faith Davis had 12 for WHS, and Brown scored 10. Stephanie Brown dished out four assists.
Whitman had 14 points and nine boards for Scott. Conway and freshman Maddie Weeks each connected for 11.
WHS (19-3) will take on Keyser (23-2), a winner over No. 2 seed North Marion, in the semifinals on Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Game notes: Westside is now 6-1 in the state tournament since 2012 … Scott played without veteran point guard Jaimee Dotson, whom Porter said has “health issues.” … Westside and Keyser have never met in girls basketball.
Photo: Danielle Brown (24) of Westside is in the foreground of this photo from Westside’s win over Scott on Wednesday morning at the state basketball tournament.