The Lady Eagles entered postseason play at Midland as a sixth seed. They left as a second seed following a captivating run through the 1A-2 South District Tournament, including wins over Shirley, third-seeded Bradford and second-seeded Concord.
West Side, which hosts this week's Class 1A, Region 3 Tournament, upset Bradford 53-46 to extend its season. The Lady Eagles then upended Cleburne County rival Concord 44-41 in Thursday's semifinal round before falling to South Side Bee Branch 52-45 in the championship game.
"This was a great win for our girls,” said West Side Coach Shane Davis after Thursday's win over Concord.
“Second straight game we beat someone who had already beat us twice. [Alexis] Barnes was outstanding on both ends. She held their best player (Kayla Richardson) to four points after having 22 against us a few weeks ago. But it was a total team effort, especially on the defensive end. We led 22-11 at half and we held on for dear life in the end,” added Davis.
Barnes, a sophomore forward, led West Side (14-20) with 21 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Sophomore point guard Abby Turney added 11 points, including two go-ahead free throws with just over one minute remaining.
Freshman center Gracie Waters contributed five points, six rebounds and four blocks, while sophomore guard Carra Duncan pulled down six rebounds for West Side.
Forward Emanda Reeves led Concord with 17 points and guard Sydney Harlan added 10. The Lady Pirates battle Guy-Perkins in the first round of the regional tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday in Greers Ferry.
In Saturday's loss to South Side, Barnes paced West Side with 20 points and six rebounds, while Turney collected nine points, six assists and three steals. Senior guard Whitney England added eight points and six rebounds for West Side, while Waters finished with six points, six rebounds and four blocks.
"This was a great high school basketball game,” said Davis. “It was a one point game at the half we had a three for the tie with 20 seconds left but couldn't get it to go.
“We couldn't overcome a cold shooting night, making 16 of 50 field goals, including 7 of 29 threes. We were also without our leading rebounder and third leading scorer Melissa Hendrickson. But all in all the girls played as hard as they possibly could and we did a great job on their two best players, holding Cotton to 15 points and Sullivan to five.
“But Bethany Wilson, a sophomore who had 11 points in two [previous] games against us went off for 23. I thought she really stepped up for them. It's still a great run for our girls making the finals as a six seed,” concluded Davis.
West Side is set to face Wonderview at 4 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the regional tournament in Greers Ferry.