Contestants on “Wheel of Fortune” get to buy a vowel when they need one.
The Westside Lady Renegades probably wish they could have bought a basket.
No. 1 WHS shot barely over 20 percent (10-49) , and No. 2 Bridgeport led from start to finish on the way to a 44-27 win in the Class AA state championship game in Charleston on Saturday afternoon.
The loss denied the Renegades a second straight championship.
“We did what we wanted to do defensively,” said WHS coach Jamie Lusk. “We wanted to hold them in the 40s and keep (Bridgeport star) Miki Glenn in the 20s, and if we scored the way we normally do we thought we would be all right.
“Our girls have worked really hard to get to this point, and I’m proud of them,” the coach added.
“It just makes me want to work hard,” remarked Westside all-state center Hope Lester, a sophomore. “I tried to fight through it (today).”
“It’s a great that our program has reached a point where you’re playing for the championship year in and out,” Lusk commented.
The Indians (25-2) scored the game’s first seven points and used timely shooting in the first half and 14-17 foul shooting in the second half to stay in control.
“Bridgeport played a great game defensively,” said Lusk. “They have a quick team and are very well coached.”
Senior Morgan Spolarich had a steal and lay up early in the second quarter, and Megan Endicott scored inside to get the Renegades within 12-9. They were never that close again.
“We missed some shots that we make normally,” Lusk remarked.
Hope Chalfant hit a three from the left corner, and Glenn sank two foul shots to push the lead to 17-9.
Lester connected inside to cut it to six.
Bridgeport finished the half with a 6-0, including four points by Glenn, to make it 23-11 at halftime.
Endicott converted a three-point play early in the third to slice the deficit to 23-14.
It was 27-16 when the Indians stretched the lead to 17 with six unanswered points, four at the stripe.
Westside was able to use its size to hold the advantage on the boards (38-28, including 20 offensive rebounds) but couldn’t convert the extra chances.
The Renegades never got closer than 13 in the final quarter.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” stated Lusk.
The coach praised Spolarich, the lone senior starter on the team.
“She’s played wherever we needer her to play,” he pointed out. “She’s been a forward, shooting guard, point guard. She’s going to be a big absence from this team.”
“I’ve had four great years here,” said Spolarich, who went to state in three of those years and was on last year’s championship team. “I’m proud of this team, and they’re my best friends.”
With four starters back, WHS will be a serious contender for next year’s title, too.
“We’ll have to get some girls to step in and play for us,” he remarked. “The girls will work hard playing in the summer shootouts and summer and fall leagues.”
He thanked his assistant coaches and Shawn Spolarich, who has worked with the team in summer and fall basketball.
Lester had 13 points and 11 rebounds for WHS. Endicott pulled down 10 boards.
Glenn had 22 points, 10 boards and four assists for Bridgeport. Megan Ware scored seven.
Miki Glenn 3-10 15-16 22, Jaquelyn Wolfe 0-4 3-4 3, Hannah Fetty 0-3 3-4 3, Tori Coulter 2-4 0-0 4, Megan Ware 3-6 1-3 7, Hope Chalfont 1-2 0-0 3, Sarah Randolph 1-1 0-0 2, Bailey Cambpell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-30, 22-27 44
Morgan Spolarich 1-11 0-0 2, Faith Davis 0-9 1-2 1, Megan Endicott 2-4 1-3 5, Hope Lester 5-16, 2-2 13, Kristen Hash 01 2-2 2, Hope Davis 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 10-49 6-10 27
Score By Quarters
Bridgeport 12 11 10 11-44
Westside 5 6 7 9-27