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Examiner
  • Sophomore Lee steps her game up in postseason

  • It’s not like the 28-2 Blue Springs High School girls basketball team needs one, but coach Mark Spigarelli’s Wildcats are taking a secret weapon to the Class 5 final four.

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  • It’s not like the 28-2 Blue Springs High School girls basketball team needs one, but coach Mark Spigarelli’s Wildcats are taking a secret weapon to the Class 5 final four.
    “After the Kearney game, I’m not so sure she’s a secret,” joked Spigarelli, when asked about the recent play of sophomore guard Aliyah Lee. “She brings an energy to the team, and when she’s hitting those 3-pointers, well, that takes the pressure off everyone else.”
    When the Wildcats and Columbia Rock Bridge meet at 8:20 p.m. tonight at Mizzou Arena in the final state semifinal game, Lee hopes to continue her postseason offensive surge that has seen her double her regular-season point totals.
    “If I get my feet set, and have a good shot, I’m going to take it,” said Lee, whose two second-quarter 3-pointers helped ignite the Wildcats offense in a 49-37 state quarterfinal win over Kearney.
    “If I don’t have a good shot, I’m going to get the ball to one of my teammates who has a better shot. I don’t need to score for this team to be successful, but if they need some offense I’m going to do my best to provide it.”
    Lee, whose older brother Elijah was The Examiner’s co-Defensive Player of the Year for the state champion Wildcats football team, said she would love to share a state championship experience with Elijah.
    “We talk about state, and how he was on a state championship team,” Lee said. “But we don’t talk about it that much. I was cheering for him to state and I know he’s cheering for me.”
    Neither Elijah or Aliyah dreamed about a state championship last year as he played football for St. Joseph Central and she played basketball at Oak Park High School.
    “We lived with different parents,” Aliyah said, “and now, we both live with our mom in Blue Springs. I knew that Blue Springs had a good girls basketball team, but I didn’t know they had been to four straight final fours until camp this summer.
    “When I found out, I wished that I could have been a part of something like that. Now, I am.”
    Lee averaged 5.6 points per game during the regular season and is averaging 11.5 points in postseason action, including a 16-point performance against Kearney and a 17-point outburst against Lee’s Summit in district play.
    “The Lee’s Summit game was where I first really felt good about my playing, and helping the team,” Lee said. “The girls always welcomed me, and made me feel like a part of the team, but I felt like I made my best contribution against Lee’s Summit and I’ve been happy with the way I’ve played in the playoffs.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I just hope it continues at state.”
    So does Spigarelli.
    “Teams can’t concentrate as much on stopping Karyla (Middlebrook) and Lizzy (Wendell) when Aliyah comes in and does what she’s been doing in postseason,” he said. “And don’t overlook her defense just because she’s starting to come on offensively.
    “She can get it done at both ends of the court.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
     

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