Blue Springs girls basketball coach Mark Spigarelli didn’t mince words when talking about his team’s defensive performance in the first half Monday.

“That was a pretty embarrassing first half,” Spigarelli said.

Well, it definitely was a rough first 16 minutes for the Wildcats as they committed 20 turnovers, shot 29 percent from the field and fell behind 33-10 at halftime, leading to a 51-33 season-opening loss against Notre Dame de Sion Monday in the Lee’s Summit North Invitational.

The first quarter especially went wrong for Blue Springs as it was outscored 19-2 with the only basket coming from a Aliyah Bello layup. The Wildcats scored four times that amount in the second period, but still trailed by 23 at halftime.

“They came out so well in the first quarter, that we were a little shellshocked going into the second quarter,” Spigarelli said. “We were shocked after having such a bad quarter that it complicated our second quarter. (Sion) was on pace for 80 at one point. I don’t ever remember having 20 turnovers in a half before. You don’t give yourself a chance to win when you do that.”

But after some adjustments, Blue Springs came out with a renewed sense of urgency. The ball movement was better, the Wildcats forced nine turnovers and outscored the Stars 23-18 in the second half.

“We really had something to build off of in the second half,” Spigarelli said. “We actually played defense. We didn’t play any defense in the first half. We executed on offense, too.”

The defensive effort was much better, too. The Wildcats used a lot of traps and were a lot more aggressive overall.

That effort was led by guard Sy’Maih Smith, who had 13 points and four steals.

“I thought Sy’Maih really got us going early in the second half, then everyone picked it up after that,” Spigarelli said.