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Examiner
  • Snow job: Blue Springs center hopes to come up big against big opponent

  • One word keeps popping up in the conversation when the Blue Springs Wildcats talk about Hazelwood Central, their opponents in the Class 5 state semifinals at 8:20 tonight.

    Big.

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  • One word keeps popping up in the conversation when the Blue Springs Wildcats talk about Hazelwood Central, their opponents in the Class 5 state semifinals at 8:20 tonight.
    Big.
    “They’re big – really big,” said senior guard Drew Roberts. “But we’re big, and we’re really athletic, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
    Adds forward Cee Cee Burris, who will be asked to get the job done on both ends of the court, “They’re big, but we’re big and we have Bry. That gives us a lot of confidence.”
    Bry is 6-foot-1 senior center Bryonna Snow, who will play basketball at the University of Cincinnati next year.
    But right now, all she is thinking about is that big 25-2 Hazelwood Central team, that boasts 5-10 senior forwards Chantiera Johnson and BreAnna McLaughlin, who tip the scale at 200-plus pounds.
    “Not only are they big, they are strong and have those big, wide bodies, so it’s going to be very important that we play great defense inside and rebound,” said Snow, who is averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the 27-2 Wildcats.
    “We’ve seen them on film, and we’ve done some special things at practice to try and copy what it’s going to be like to play them.”
    On Wednesday afternoon, coach Mark Spigarelli invited some varsity boys players and male coaches to rough up the Wildcats.
    “I was so proud of Bry,” assistant coach Jeff Hardin said. “She took it to the basket and whacked me good. I’m still feeling it. I’ve been after her to do that for four years.”
    Snow should be at full strength tonight as she says she’s “nearly 100 percent” following a big toe injury suffered in the district semifinals against Lee’s Summit.
    “I kind of came down awkward on my right foot, and my big toe bent under my foot,” Snow said. “It really hurt, and that’s why I haven’t been as strong in the playoffs as I was hoping I would be.
    “Cee Cee and the other girls have really picked up the slack rebounding and scoring inside. I’ve been so proud of them. But right now, I’m not getting the toe taped and I think I’ll be nearly 100 percent when we play Hazelwood Central.”
    Snow knows that her stellar career at Blue Springs ends this weekend, whether the Cats finish first, second, third or fourth.
    “Don’t even talk about anything but first,” she said, grinning. “We’re going to the final four to win it all. It’s been a long time (10 years) since Blue Springs’ girls went to the final four and no team has ever won the championship.
    Page 2 of 3 - “We want to be the team that sets a legacy that all the other teams can look at. I think we can win it all if we keep working as hard in the game as we’ve worked at practice this week.”
    Snow is the daughter of Tyra and Percy Snow, the former Kansas City Chiefs first-round draft pick who played linebacker alongside late Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.
    “My father has never seen me play basketball,” said Snow, who added that her father lives in Canton, Ohio. “I started playing in eighth grade, and I haven’t seen him since fourth or fifth grade.
    “But that’s all right, because my mother is there for everything my sister and I do.”
    Her sister is freshman sensation Tyonna Snow, who is one of the Wildcats key reserves.
    “I know how big this weekend is for the seniors on this team,” Tyonna said, “and I want to do everything I can – and I know all the underclassmen feel the same way – to help Bry and the other seniors win a state championship.”
    STATE SEMIFINAL AT A GLANCE:
    WHAT: Class 5 high school girls basketball state semifinal.
    WHO: No. 4-ranked Blue Springs Wildcats vs. No. 6 Hazelwood Central Hawks (25-2).
    WHEN & WHERE: 8:20 p.m. Friday, Mizzou Arena, Columbia.
    WHAT’S ON THE LINE: The winner advances to the MSHSAA (Missouri State High School
    Activities Association) Class 5 Show-Me Showdown state championship game at 6:20 p.m.
    Saturday. The loser plays for third place at 1:25 p.m. Saturday.
    STATE FINAL FOUR HISTORY: Blue Springs has made the state semifinals three times previously – 1991, 1997 and 1999 with a third-place finish and two fourths. Hazelwood Central is making its third trip to the state semifinals with a second and a third in 1984 and 1985.
    ROAD TO THE FINAL FOUR: Blue Springs dominated Lee’s Summit West 60-32 in its district championship game, downed Raytown 44-36 in its sectional playoff and defeated Liberty 59-40 in the state quarterfinals. Hazelwood Central routed Hazelwood West 63-25 in its district
    championship game, topped Parkway South 61-53 in its sectional playoff and edged Fort
    Zumwalt West 50-47 in the state quarterfinals.
    BLUE SPRINGS WILDCATS
    Po.    Name    Hgt.    Yr.    PPG    Stat
    G    Drew Roberts    5-5    sr.    14.2    3.4 apg
    G    Jamesia Price    5-7    so.    7.0    3.4 apg
    F    Mackenzie Sykes    5-11    jr.    5.1    2.7 rpg
    F    Cee Cee Burris    5-11    so.    10.4    7.6 rpg
    C    Bryonna Snow    6-1    sr.    11.1    5.4 rpg
    HAZELWOOD CENTRAL HAWKS
    Po.    Name    Hgt.    Yr.    PPG    Stat
    G    Lisa Wren    5-5    sr.    2.0    1.4 apg
    G    Candyce Ussery    5-7    so.    5.3    3.0 apg
    Page 3 of 3 - G    Charlonda Bozeman    5-9    sr.    8.7    4.8 rpg
    F    Chantiera Johnson    5-10    sr.    11.1    3.4 rpg
    F    BreAnna McLaughlin    5-9    sr.    9.5    6.2 rpg

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