CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The task appeared daunting, to say the least.
Conventional wisdom said that for Class AA No. 2 seed Bridgeport to have a chance at dethroning Westside on Saturday, the Indians would have to get the Renegades All-State center Hope Lester in foul trouble and Indians All-State guard Miki Glenn would have to cap off a torrid week of scoring with another 30-point performance.
Neither happened, and yet Bridgeport (25-2) nevertheless is celebrating its first state championship in girls basketball after a 44-27 win over the Renegades (25-2) in the state tournament championship at the Charleston Civic Center.
Glenn, who scored 33 points in the Indians' opening-round win over Lincoln on Thursday then poured in 40 against Nicholas County in the semifinals Friday, finished with a game-high 22 points while going 15-of-16 from the foul line, but it was the Bridgeport defense that stole the show in the title game.
"Honestly, I don't believe it. Show me a stat sheet, because I don't believe it," said 18th-year Bridgeport Coach Dave Marshall when asked about holding Westside to 45 points under its season average of 72.8 points per game.
"I've watched that team play, last night I'm having trouble sleeping and thinking, 'What are you gonna do?'"
What the Indians did was lock 5-foot-8 sophomore center Hannah Fetty on the 6-foot Lester, and collapse on the Renegades senior any time the ball came near her. Lester finished with a team-high 13 points, but was 5-of-16 shooting in getting to that mark, and - unlike in the first two rounds of the State Tournament when her teammates stepped up when Lester was in foul trouble - no one could bail out the defending state champions.
Westside starting guards Morgan Spolarich, Faith Davis and Danielle Brown were a combined 2-of-23 from the floor. Forward Megan Endicott was the team's second-leading scorer, with five points.
"This team is the perfect example that you don't have to be able to run fast, you don't have to be able to jump high, you don't have to be able to score 40 points a game, although it's nice," Marshall said. "You don't have to be able to do all that to play defense.
"It's a matter of desire and 'want to', and it's a little bit of intelligence. This team right here proved that. They're the poster children for that."
Westside turned the ball over on each of its first six possessions, allowing Bridgeport to take the lead early. The Indians never gave it up. They led 12-5 after one and 23-11 at halftime.
"I knew I wasn't by myself. I knew I would always have help," said Fetty, who was named to the All-Tournament team although she scored just seven points in three games.
Fetty also drew the challenge of defending Nicholas County leading scorer Shealyn Shafer in the semifinals, giving up at least three inches in that matchup.
"It's not just me on someone. It's the whole team," Fetty said. "I think the way we play - fronting the post and pushing her back - you know that somebody's going to be there to help you if you ever lose your man.
"It was just a group effort."
Westside never pulled closer than 10 points of the lead after halftime, and by the end of the third quarter Glenn was back in a familiar spot: the foul line, where Bridgeport scored half of its points in the title game.
Glenn, who on Friday set a new single-game scoring record for the Class AA tournament and surpassed Jolyssa Brown's three-game record for free-throw makes in a tournament, finished off the title by establishing a new mark for attempts in a tournament. She finished the three-game set by making 51-of-57 foul shots.
The previous record for attempts in a tournament was 47, by Brown in 2008.
Westside Coach Jamie Lusk said the loss was the result of everything seeming to click for his opponent.
"They were quick, and they did a good job on their help defense on Hope," Lusk said. "They're a good team, and Miki Glenn is a great player, and other girls for them stepped up and made shots as well.
"They're athletic and quick, and they made right decisions. We missed some shots we normally make. A lot of times shots we took today we knock down sometimes."
Westside made just 10 of 49 field goal attempts.
Glenn and freshman Hope Chalfant joined Fetty on the All-Tournament team for Bridgeport. Lester and Davis were named from Westside. Shafer and the Fairmont Senior duo of Kaden Whaley and Emily Stoller rounded out the team.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.tay...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT
BRIDGEPORT 44, WESTSIDE 27
Name FG 3pt FT R A Stl Pts
Glenn 3-10 1-1 15-16 10 4 5 22
Wolfe 0-4 0-3 3-4 2 1 1 3
Fetty 0-3 0-0 3-4 3 0 0 3