CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last year, Westside finally broke a string of five straight Class AA championships for Summers County by capturing its first state title in school history.
Now the Renegades are working toward establishing a dynasty of their own.
No. 1 Westside (24-1) overcame some foul trouble for star player Hope Lester and cruised past No. 8 PikeView 68-41 in a quarterfinal game Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center, beginning the Renegades' title defense.
The win was Westside's third over PikeView on the season with a combined margin of victory of 97 points.
"We had to fight some jitters and some nervousness," Westside coach Jamie Lusk said. "PikeView came ready to play. In that first half they were really getting after us on defense and it was making it tough for us to get good shots. We are happy with the outcome here and I thought we stepped up in the second half, made some good plays and got back to doing what we do well."
The Renegades were coasting, up 21-6 and on an 11-0 run in the second quarter when Lester was called for her second foul at the 7:25 mark, forcing her to sit the rest of the first half.
Another Davis 3-pointer extended the lead to 24-6, but Westside then closed on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to 10 at the break.
Unfortunately for PikeView (14-11), Lester returned in full force after halftime, scoring 14 points in the third quarter during a 21-8 run that put the game out of reach for the Renegades.
She finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in 20 minutes.
"I just took my time on my shots," Lester said. "I got good position posting up, I wanted the ball, and I knew if I got it I had to go up strong. They were physical but I knew what I had to do.