For the past month, the Truman High School girls have been playing some of their best basketball of the season.
That’s why coach Steve Cassity wasn’t overly concerned when his No. 2 seeded Patriots trailed 8-2 after one quarter of Tuesday night’s Class 5 District 14 semifinal against Blue Springs at Truman High School.
“We didn’t have much going offensively, but we held them to just eight points and we’d had periods like that this season,” Cassity said, “and we always seemed to rebound and find a way to come back.”
That was the case against the No. 3-seeded Wildcats as Truman used four consecutive 3-point baskets – two each by seniors Becca Gilpin and Stacy Briggs – in a 20-point third quarter to claim a 39-24 victory.
Truman (14-12) will play No. 1 seed Blue Springs South (see related story) in the championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“Becca really got us going with those big 3-point baskets in the third period and then Stacy – who has had a knack for hitting some big shots this season – followed with her two threes and we were off,” Cassity said. “I think you could see some nerves with each team early in the game, and our kids really started playing much better in the second half.”
Blue Springs scored just two points in the second period, while the Patriots scored eight, making it a 10-all game at halftime.
Truman used a 20-4 third-period advantage to take control and advance to the championship game.
“It was a struggle for sure, in the first period,” said Gilpin, who finished with a team-high 12 points. “We weren’t playing like we had been, and that was addressed in the locker room at halftime.
“It was like, ‘Do you want this?’ And we did – and we played like it the third period and the second half.”
While Gilpin was pleased to contribute to the win, she seemed even more thrilled for Briggs’ long-range contribution.
“Stacy has hit some big 3-point shots this season, but none were bigger than the ones she hit tonight,” Gilpin said.
Briggs echoed her teammates’ comments, adding, “I was so excited when Becca hit those 3-pointers. When she hit them, you could just see our confidence rise. Then I hit a couple, and it was just so much fun and so exciting.
“We’re going to the district championship game! That’s so exciting.”
While the season came to an end for his 13-12 Wildcats, coach Mark Spigarelli found plenty of positives to take from the district contest.
“We did a lot of good things tonight, especially in the first half,” Spigarelli said. “Then, we made a couple of early mistakes in the third period and they turned them into quick baskets and that seemed to get their offense going.
“But I’m proud of this team. We finished above .500 for the first time in a long time, and I think we’re going to be pretty darned good in the future with all the young players we have.”
Blue Springs freshman Ja’Cole Johnson led all scorers with 14 points.
Deon Monroe and Briggs finished with seven each for the Patriots.