By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
HANCEVILLE — The West Point girls' varsity team came into Tuesday night's quarterfinal contest against Fairview hoping to get in and out of Tom Drake Coliseum with an easy victory.
The Warriors (10-10) rode the coattails of center Madison Rusk and used a suffocating defensive effort to handle the Bulldogs by a final score of 60-32.
"We played really good defense tonight," coach Regina Jones said.
"That was the difference. We also knocked down a lot of the open shots we got."
Rusk was a force inside for the Warriors, both offensively and defensively.
The senior scored 17 points, while also securing eight boards, four blocks and three steals in just three quarters of play.
"Coming into the game, we knew she was taller than all of Fairview's players," Jones said. "We tried to work it inside to her the majority of the game. When we did that, she made the most of it. And, when she kicked it out, her teammates made the shots."
West Point wasted little time getting the scoring started as the Warriors opened the game on an 11-0 run before taking a 23-10 advantage into the second quarter.
The Warriors were able to extend their lead to 23 points with a 9-2 run capsulated by a Jamie Beasley layup to end the half.
Any chance of a Aggie comeback was thwarted early in the third quarter by Rusk's seven points and her team's tenacity on defense.
Rusk wasn't the only source of offense for the Warriors, however, as nine different players chipped in at least one point.
Beasley was the only other dougle-digit scorer for West Point, coming in with 11 points, while teammate Rachel Persall added nine.
Other Warrior contributors included Courtney Walker, seven points; Kari Williams, six; Mallory Walker, four; Taylor McManus and Juliane Parrott, two apiece; and Alex Baggett, one.
Up next for West Point is a date with second-seeded Holly Pond, a team the Warriors split a pair of games with earlier this season. The game is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Jones said she knows her team will face a big challenge.
"We are going to have to play extremely well on defense," she said. "They have a lot of good players. We are also going to have a good, balanced attack on offense."
Marlana Johnson paced the Aggies with nine points, while Julia Creel netted seven.
Teammates Kylee Bannister, Sarah Harper and Kennedy Trimble each contributed four points, while Alley Raper and Alli Harris both added a 2-point bucket.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, Ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org