As it inches way closer to the .500 mark, coach Mark Spigarelli’s Blue Springs High School girls basketball team improved to 2-0 in Suburban Big Six play with a gritty 55-52 overtime win over visiting Lee’s Summit Monday night.
The Wildcats ran out to an 11-2 lead but had to use six Morgan Hensley overtime free throws to improve to 8-9 overall and remain undefeated in conference action.
“This was a big win,” said Hensley, who scored the first six points of the game as she picked a Tiger's pocket and hit a layup and grabbed two offensive rebounds and turned them into four points. “We’re coming closer and closer as a team. We have so many new players this season and there have been a lot of ups and downs, but I think we’re going to have a lot more ups the rest of the season.”
That’s what the Wildcats' veteran coach is hoping for, too.
“Tonight was a microcosm of our entire season,” said Spigarelli, who led the Wildcats to a state all-time best five consecutive final fours over the last five seasons. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but the girls did a nice job tonight finding a way to win this game.
“Early on, I thought we were more aggressive. Then, Lee’s Summit did a nice job breaking us down off our dribble. And their speed hurt us, but the girls did a nice job at the line in the overtime period, and I thought we really picked up our defensive intensity in overtime.”
The Wildcats led 15-10 after one period and took a 27-24 lead into halftime.
The Tigers sank three 3-pointers in the third period to trim to deficit to 38-36, and neither team could find the offensive touch in the fourth quarter as the Cats and Tigers failed to reach double digits.
The biggest basket of the final eight minutes of regulation came when Lee’s Summit’s Mo Mosier hit the Tigers’ seventh 3-pointer of the game to knot the score at 45-all with 1:26 left. That was the final point of regulation.
The Wildcats scored eight of their 10 overtime points at the line, with Hensley hitting six of her first seven and 6 of 9 overall. She missed her final two attempts long after the game had been decided.
“I love to be at the line in close games,” said Hensley, who led the Cats with 13 points. “We’re a good free-throw shooting team, and we got the job done at the line in overtime. I missed those last two, but I feel like I made them when we really need them early in the overtime period.”
Aliyah Lee hit the Cats’ lone basket midway through the overtime period. It gave Blue Springs a 50-48 lead it never relinquished.
Page 2 of 2 - Moriah Panuco came off the bench and hit three 3-pointers for the Wildcats and finished with 10 points.
Taylor Gilkey led the Tigers with 15 points and Mosier added 11.
Katie Mooneyham scored 14 points to lead Blue Springs to a 45-33 junior varsity win.