By Dave Morrison
NEW RICHMOND – Westside lost for the first time this season, falling to county rival Wyoming East 79-38.
But a loss that occurred after the game may have more lasting significance.
Westside coach Jamie Lusk resigned, telling his team in an emotional postgame meeting in the team’s locker room.
Lusk said he was resigning to spend more time with his family.
“It’s been on my mind for a while,” Lusk said after meeting with his team. “Talking to my family this weekend and hearing both my kids tell me how much they missed me being home had a big part in it,” Lusk said, still emotional after the meeting with his players. “That’s 100 percent of it. I want to be with my family.
“I told the girls in there, I’ve worked with and did things with other people’s kids. I said it’s time for me to start being around my kids. Before you know it they are going to grow up and be gone. I want to be there for them.”
Lusk had a stellar 13-year career at the helm of the Lady Renegades.
Westside won the 2012 state title, beating Scott 49-46 in the Class AA title game to cap a 28-0 season.
After finishing as runners-up in 2013 (falling to Bridgeport 44-27) the Lady Renegades won their second title, beating Sissonville 43-33.
Westside was 74-5 during that three year run of state championship game appearances.
Lusk won his 200th game last season and ended his run with 214 career victories.
“I’m going to miss this,” Lusk said. “I have fantastic girls, fantastic young ladies. I love them all. They do everything I asked them to do, they gave me everything they have, But I think its time for me. I’ve been doing it for 13 years.”
Lusk also helped several coaches along the way, including Wyoming East coach Angie Boninsegna, who came to the Westside locker room to pay her respects after the game.
“When I first started out as a head coach Jamie and (Westside assistant) Darren (Thomas) were super supportive,” Boninsegna said. “We are county rivals but they stepped up and had my back. I told them over there, they don’t know how much I appreciated what they’d done for me and that support. I think there was a mutual respect between the programs.
“It’s really a loss for our county, it’s a loss for basketball. Not only Jamie as a coach but Jamie as a role model for the kids. I wish him luck with whatever he does but we will definitely miss him.”
Lusk said he remembered something his brother Todd, a coach in Virginia for 20 years told him.
“He said, ‘Jamie, you’ll know when it’s time to step down.’ I feel like it’s time to step down and let somebody else do it.”
A successor will be appointed but it is expected to be assistant Tim Kennedy, at least in the short term.