Longtime Blue Springs girls basketball coach Mark Spigarelli woke up Monday morning feeling unusually relaxed for a game day – especially a season-opening day.
Unfortunately for his Wildcats, he was not feeling the same way later that night as the Lee’s Summit West Titans kept his Wildcats at bay much of the game to claim a 54-48 Suburban Big Six victory in a girls/boys doubleheader at West.
West rolled out to an 18-10 lead after the opening quarter and took a 30-19 lead into halftime.
“That was not the team I saw at our jamboree or at practice the past two weeks,” Spigarelli said of his Wildcats, after making a quick post-game exit from the locker room.
“It’s best I leave. I don’t want to say anything I might regret, because I think we’re going to be a good team this season – but we were not a good team tonight.”
However, the team he saw in preseason practice returned to the court in the second half as the Wildcats held the Titans to one third-period field goal and trailed just 35-32 going into the final quarter.
“We stepped it up defensively in the second half,” Spigarelli said, “but I’d like to have seen some of that defense in the first half.”
With 6:19 left, Blue Springs guard Ja’Cole Johnson hit her second 3-pointer of the game to knot it 37-all.
But on their next four possessions, the Wildcats had a turnover and missed several point-blank layups – often getting an offensive board but failing to put the ball in the basket.
“We missed 16 layups tonight, and that’s not acceptable.” Spigarelli said. “I don’t know if when we work on layups at practice our girls don’t think it’s important, but I bet they’ll think it’s important after tonight.”
After Blue Springs tied it, West’s Morgan Pietig hit her lone basket of the night, a long 3-pointer that started a 9-0 run. Charli Ritchey followed with back-to-back treys.
“And most of those 3-pointers were uncontested,” Spigarelli added. “We didn’t even get a hand in their face.”
Charli and her twin sister, Marissa Ritchey, doubled their fun against the Wildcats as they scored 12 and 13 points, respectively.
Brooke Ellis, who scored eight points in the second quarter, added 11 for the Titans.
Freshman guard Jada Williams led the Wildcats with 17 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter. She was the lone Blue Springs player in double figures.
“After a game like this, you just have to go back to practice tomorrow and work even harder,” Blue Springs senior Aliyah Bello said. “No one wants to start a season with a loss like this, but it’s early in the season and we have a lot of time to work on all the things we did wrong tonight.”