West Hall’s girls basketball team uses “relentless” as a motto. On Tuesday night, that’s exactly how they played against visitors Adairsville in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament, picking up their most important win so far this season, 73-48.
The win was the team’s 11th straight.
“Eleven straight wins, I guess that’s going to give you some confidence and I think they have that confidence,” West Hall coach Bryan Richerson said. “That’s something we needed. First playoff game for all those girls, it’s a good win for us.”
Now, for the first time since 2001, the Lady Spartans move on to the second round where they’ll host Washington County on Friday. A time has not yet been decided.
The Lady Spartans (20-8) are in the state playoffs for the first time since 2005. They never trailed Tuesday as they jumped out to a 6-0 run on the Tigers (13-17), with three different players netting baskets.
From there, sophomore Anna McKendree completely took over and put on a show and ended her night early in the fourth quarter with 40 points.
“I’m not surprised at what she can do,” Richerson said. “She’s a great offensive player, we’ve just got to work on the defense. She’s special in that role with Macy (Passmore) and all these others. When you’ve got that chemistry, that really helps.”
Richerson said he didn’t know the last time a Lady Spartan put 40 points on the board.
“That’s pretty good, especially for a sophomore high school player,” Richerson said. “Wow. That’s pretty impressive.”
The Lady Spartans jumped out to a 25-15 lead in the first quarter, with McKendree scoring 18. The guard hit four 3-pointers in the period.
West Hall went after the Tigers’ defense from the start, shooting from the outside and then working its way inside for layups. The Lady Spartans led by 18 at halftime.
“We really wanted to push it up the floor,” Richerson said. “We did a good job in the first half, but I thought we got a little gassed, which is surprising after last week.”
At the break, McKendree had 24 points, one more than Adairsville’s team total.
Passmore had a pair of four-point opening quarters to have eight points by half.
The Tigers’ leading scorers at the midway point, Emily Collum and Nakiya Washington, each had six points on 3-pointers.
Adairsville had its best quarter in the third, scoring 17 points, but the Lady Spartans kept their foot on the gas and put up 19.
McKendree had eight in the quarter with a pair of 3s and a pair of free throws. Megan English had six and Passmore had five in the period.
The final period saw McKendree hit another long-range jumper, another free throw and score on two breakaway layups after stealing passes.
McKendree hit seven 3-point baskets in the contest.
After winning the first-round contest by 25, Richerson said he doesn’t think his players will have any problem staying grounded as they prepare for Friday’s matchup.
“I think we’ll be alright,” he said. “They’ve shown me that they’ve matured after last week and the week before that with big wins and coming back within a day or so and doing it again. That, I’m not really worried about. They have a relentless attitude and they’ll do what they need to do to win the basketball game.”
Passmore wrapped up with her final two free throws, finishing 8 of 8 from the line, to cap off her 15 points. She also pulled eight rebounds in the game.
English finished with eight points.
Washington scored four points in the third quarter for the Tigers to close off her night with 10 points to lead Adairsville.
Collum failed to score in the second half and finished with six.
Overall, the Spartans were 17 of 21 from the line, while the Tigers were 3 of 9.