On a night that featured a milestone basket for Blue Springs South senior Remy Davenport, her Jaguar teammates rose to the occasion and put an end to a seven-year curse that dated back to Feb. 23, 2006.
“Thanks for getting that monkey off our back,” South activities director Tim Michael said to Jaguars girls basketball coach Brad Oyler after a 44-34 Suburban Big Six victory at Blue Springs High School, ending a 16-game losing streak to the crosstown rival.
Oyler just smiled and nodded in agreement.
It was not a pretty game. South failed to take advantage of 10 first-quarter Wildcat turnovers, and the Wildcats never seemed to get the handle on how to stop Davenport and the Jaguars.
“The monkey's off our back, but the girls found out tonight just how tough it is to beat a very good team that we have not beaten in a long time,” Oyler said after his Jaguars improved to 12-4 overall and 3-1 in the conference with their first win against the Wildcats since a 48-45 decision in a district final on Feb. 23, 2006. “The first quarter was frustrating because we missed so many layups and free throws. We could have taken a commanding lead early, and Blue Springs worked hard and kept the game close.”
South took a 10-6 lead into the second quarter. That's when Davenport took over the game.
She needed eight points to surpass the 1,000-point milestone, and she made it 1,001 points with a jump shot midway through the second quarter. She scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the second quarter and had 11 in the half to help the Jaguars take a 27-19 halftime lead.
“She's such a good player,” Oyler said. “She'd be the first to tell you that she struggled early in the season, but she's really found her shot and has been playing well. Getting 1,000 career points is pretty special – especially when it comes in a win like this.”
South led 30-26 going into the final quarter, and, again, Davenport took the game over, scoring six points to keep the Wildcats at bay.
“This is a huge win,” said Davenport, a four-year starter who had never enjoyed a victory over the Wildcats. “All my family was here, my sister (Tiffany) is a starter and I was able to get 1,000 points in front of a lot of our fans.”
When asked if she knew which basket broke the milestone barrier, she simply said, “I got that basket in the second quarter and all my family stood up, so I kind of had an idea.”
Blue Springs announced the milestone at halftime.
“It wouldn't have meant as much if we wouldn't have won the game,” Davenport said. “We thought we'd win easier than we did tonight. We found out how tough it is to beat a great team and a great coach.”
That “great coach” she was talking about is Mark Spigarelli, who led the 8-10, 2-1 Wildcats to appearances in the last five state final fours – a state record.
“I guess all good things have to come to an end,” Spigarelli said. “We hurt ourselves early with all the turnovers, but after turning it over 10 times in the first quarter we finished with 20 – so the girls cleaned some things up out there.
“As a coach, I need to find a time to give (guard Morgan) Hensley a rest. She just ran out of gas. The girls worked hard – not disappointed in the effort, just disappointed in the outcome.”
Brianna Tauai led the Wildcats with 10 points and Aliyah Lee provided some energy off the bench and finished with eight points.
Brooke Neal totaled nine for the Jaguars.
Camryn Swanson scored 16 points to lead Blue Springs to a 51-47 junior varsity win. Kayla Jackson paced South with 13.