• Cats, Jags to meet after identical wins

  • There’ll be an all-Blue Springs Class 5 District 14 girls basketball tournament final.

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  • There’ll be an all-Blue Springs Class 5 District 14 girls basketball tournament final.
    Blue Springs and Blue Springs South each won 44-27 on Thursday at Blue Springs High School to set up a showdown between the crosstown rivals at 6 p.m. Friday, also at Blue Springs High School. The Wildcats defeated Lee’s Summit, followed by the Jaguars’ victory over Lee’s Summit North.
    South junior guard Remy Davenport can’t wait.
    “I’m pumped,” said Davenport, whose team-leading 13 points helped the Jaguars advance. “I’m excited. Everybody’s excited. We wanted this game really bad. It should be a good game.”
    South girls coach Brad Oyler said the final should “be a lot of fun.”
    “I don’t know the last time South ... (was) in a championship game,” Oyler said.
    It was 2006. Coincidentally, South played Blue Springs that year, winning 48-45.
    When Blue Springs guard Aliyah Lee was interviewed shortly after the Wildcats’ 17-point victory, Friday’s opponent was uncertain. But that seemed immaterial to the sophomore, who paced the Wildcats with 17 points.
    “(We) have to be ready for anything,” Lee said. “Because once we lose, we’re done.”
    That urgency to win helped Blue Springs pull away from Lee’s Summit during the second half after a tight first half. The Tigers (10-16) led for much of the first quarter, including 9-8 at quarter’s end. The Wildcats (25-2) edged the Tigers 9-6 the second quarter to lead 17-15 at halftime.
    “We were a little uptight (the) first half — like, I don’t know, tense,” Wildcats senior Lizzy Wendell said. “But we just loosened up and played our game the second half.”
    By playing their game, Blue Springs outscored Lee’s Summit 27-12 the second half to give the Class 5 state runner-up its 17th straight win and fifth straight district championship appearance. Wendell sparked Blue Springs’ second-half offense by scoring 11 of the Wildcats’ 15 third-quarter points.
    “I was just crashing the boards and getting rebounds off (of our shots),” said Wendell, who finished with 16 points. “Our players were taking good shots; they just weren’t falling. I was in the right position to get the rebounds.”
    Lee helped the Wildcats finish it by scoring six of their 12 fourth-quarter points.
    “We didn’t want to go down,” she said. “We’re on our home court, so it’s like we have to perform for the crowd, I guess.”
    Had Blue Springs coach Mark Spigarelli watched the Wildcats play two inconsistent halves during the regular season, he would’ve been “disappointed with the effort,” he said. But because they’ll play again Friday, “there’s nothing to be upset about,” Spigarelli added.
    “I thought they did a much better job (the) second half of refocusing and doing what they needed to do,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - By contrast, the Jaguars (12-12) advanced by taking control of Thursday’s second semifinal early. They opened with a 6-0 run and went on to lead 15-6 after one quarter. Oyler called it “one of the best quarters we’ve played all year.”
    “We came out and executed well on offense and got some good shots,” he said. “Defensively, we played well.”
    Admittedly, the Jaguars “struggled a little bit” during the second quarter, Oyler said.
    “They stepped up their defense, caused us a ... (few) problems,” he said.
    Their struggles notwithstanding, the Jaguars played the Broncos to a 5-5 second-quarter deadlock to lead 20-11 at halftime. South then outscored North 24-16 the second half to end North’s season at 14-9.
    “Hand it to Blue Springs South,” Broncos coach Tricia Lillygren said. “They came out (and) played well.”

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