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Examiner
  • Cats hope sloppy win over Jags serves purpose

  • As players from Blue Springs and visiting Blue Springs South walked out of their respective locker rooms Thursday night, it was difficult to tell which of the Suburban Big Six rivals won the game.

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  • As players from Blue Springs and visiting Blue Springs South walked out of their respective locker rooms Thursday night, it was difficult to tell which of the Suburban Big Six rivals won the game.
    Blue Springs got a hot start, leading 11-0 after the first eight minutes and used that cushion to overcome a lackluster final three quarters en route to a 39-31 victory that left coach Mark Spigarelli fuming.
    “Use what I (said) last week,” Spigarelli said after his Wildcats improved to 20-2 overall and 6-0 in conference action, “we get off to a good start and then didn't do anything the rest of the game.
    “We better start learning from our mistakes or it's going to hurt us.”
    Division I signees Lizzy Wendell (Drake) and Karlyla Middlebrook (Texas Tech) agreed with their disappointed coach.
    “Oh man, I don't know what happened,” said Wendell, who scored 12 points and was the lone Wildcat in double figures.  “Maybe we were too pumped up. Maybe we tried too hard. It's a killer when you start off good and then finish really bad.
    “We're all disappointed, even though we won, especially Coach.”
    Middlebrook, who scored just three points, added, “This better be a wake-up call. We've heard Coach talk about wake-up calls and we still play like we did tonight. When we led 11-0 after the first period we should have beaten them by a lot more points than we did.
    “We just weren't focused. At this point in the season, you better be focused. We were focused at the start of the game, but we should have scored more than 11 points (in the first quarter).
    “If we don't shut them out the first quarter, who knows what happens. They made it closer than it should have been.”
    Class 5 No. 4-ranked Blue Springs scored just five points in the second and fourth periods and the Jaguars scored 15 points in the final eight minutes. Sophomore Brooke Neal hit a long 3-pointer to make it 36-29 with 1:21 left in the game, but the Jaguars posed no threat after that.
    The loss leaves South with a 9-10 overall record and 1-4 conference mark.
    “It's been a long time since I've coached a team that was below the Mendoza mark,” joked South coach Brad Oyler, a 400-game career-winner who won a state championship at Liberty High School.
    “Let's start with the positives tonight. We held a state-ranked team to 39 points (Blue Springs' low-point game this season is 32 against Columbia Rock Bridge). We played a strong fourth quarter and I thought we played good defense throughout the game.
    “Those 11 points they scored in the first quarter looks more impressive because we didn't score any. I haven't had a team shutout like that too many times in my career – thank goodness.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I know Mark isn't too happy, and we're not too happy either. But at least our girls did some positive things we can try to build on.”
    In a lackluster fourth quarter that had Spigarelli fuming, Wendell hit two layups and Aliyah Lee, who came off the bench to score nine points, hit 1 of 2 free throws to account for the Wildcats’ offense.
    “We didn't execute offensively,” said Jaguars junior guard Remy Davenport, who led all scorers with 14 points. “If we played better offense, if we played better as a team, who knows, we might have won this game.
    “This is such a big game for us. We've never beat them since I've been on the team and we thought we had the chance tonight. It didn't happen, but we can concentrate on the areas we need to improve on and maybe we'll see them again.”
     
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