Uptempo offense pushes W.C. Rustin to dominant win over Sun Valley

WESTTOWN – Casey Warley knew the gameplan for West Chester Rustin was simple against Sun Valley.

The Golden Knights wanted to play a complete team game. In other to accomplish that, Rustin wanted to set the tempo early. Especially with sole possession first place in the Ches-Mont American Division on the line.

“Getting ahead early helps us play as a team,’ Warley said. “We more confident and relaxed when we get an early lead. We can swing the ball more and let everyone find the open shot. It really helps us play as a team.’

Mission accomplished.

Warley scored nine of her 13 points in the first quarter and West Chester Rustin scored 15 unanswered points in that frame en route to a 69-42 win over Sun Valley Thursday night.

The Golden Knights (3-0 American, 4-3 overall) never trailed in the game in a dominant performance on both ends of the floor. They sit atop the American Division standings with the victory. Sun Valley (2-1 American, 4-1 overall) dropped its first game of the season.

Rustin started the game on an 18-3 run to get that early lead it coveted. The Golden Knights hit five of their first six 3-pointers to build that advantage. Two came from the hands of Noelle Powell, who finished with nine points.

Annie Pitts was a major contributor in Rustin’s 15-0 run, scoring five points to go with four steals. Pitts wanted to be aggressive at the top of the key, knowing Sun Valley’s Kate Lannon was set to get the ball in the post.

“No. 2 (Lannon) is really good,’ Pitts said. “Instead of just letting Sun Valley play their offense and set her up, I was hoping to shake them up and get some steals. We were ready to play and get that early lead.’

The Golden Knights led 25-10 after the first quarter and 42-25 at halftime. Rustin emptied its bench in the first half, which amounted for 17 points in the first 16 minutes. Katie O’Hare had 11 of those points and finished with 13 on the night.

A starter for Rustin last year, O’Hare enjoys the role she plays in Rustin’s new uptempo offense.

“I like coming off the bench and bringing that spark to the team,’ O Hare said. “It helps getting our team together and I’m provided with the same opportunites to score points.’

Rustin had 31 points off the bench for the game.

Powell, averaging 18.0 points coming into the contest, finished with nine on the night. Emily Walls scored four unanswered points to give Rustin a 52-29 lead early in the third. Soon after, the starters were removed from the game.

Walls finished with eight points and Pitts had seven.

Lannon finished with a game-high 18 points for the Vanguards, which had their four-game winning streak snapped.

The 0-3 start that faced Rustin a week ago is long behind the Golden Knights. They have rallied to win four straight games to climb over the .500 mark for the first time this season.

Now, Rustin is set to keep its foot on the gas pedal. The offense is improving each night and wearing down teams as the game progresses.

As the seniors proclaimed, there was no reason to panic in Westtown.

“I know a lot of people were worried about our start, but our team wasn’t,’ Warley said. “We started slow last year and went really far. You can’t judge the outcome on where you start. Your last game is who you are.’

“We just had to get used to new players and a new system,’ Pitts said. “We haven’t played with each other for a while. Now that we’re back over that .500 mark, we’re ready to go.’

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