The smiles and a bit of a swagger are back at Blue Springs.
Coach Mark Spigarelli played all 12 members of his Wildcats girls varsity team, and each player scored at least one basket in a 67-39 victory over host Fort Osage Monday night.
“This was so much fun,” said senior Aliyah Bello, who along with the other four starters had the best seat in the house – on the Wildcats bench – as reserves took over the game in the second half.
“When our freshmen, or our reserve players, scored their first points of the season, we were going crazy. This is the type of team we want to be – a team where everyone contributes and helps us win. This is the team Coach Spigarelli has been waiting for, and I’m so happy for him and everyone on our team.”
It was the first win of the season for the Wildcats (1-2), who have a nice blend of freshman talent with Jada Williams and Kayleigh Jenkins, and a strong senior presence with Bello and Jayla Sample.
“This is the game we’ve been waiting for, the team we’ve been waiting for, where everyone contributes,” said Spigarelli, who had a high-five or handshake for every player who left the court as the Wildcats pulled away in the second half. “This is a game, a win, we can build on. It was so much fun watching the energy out on the court and the energy on our bench. Our girls were so excited as they watched their teammates tonight and that is what a coach likes to see.”
While her team didn’t come away with a victory, Fort Osage coach Lindsay Thompson was equally positive in describing her 3-3 Indians.
“This is a season where we have so many players who are getting their first varsity points or their first varsity rebounds,” said Thompson, who never showed a sign of agitation or disappointment during the home loss. “We’re a good young team that is playing a very tough schedule to start the season. We know how good Blue Springs is and how good they are going to be this season, and it was a competitive game for the first 12 minutes and then they just took over.”
The Wildcats held a slim 14-13 lead after the first period. They then scored 11 points in a row and held the Indians to just six points in the second period to take a 33-19 lead into halftime.
“We played so well as a team tonight and that is very exciting,” Jenkins, a freshman guard, said after she scored six of her eight points in the second period. “I believe we’re going to keep getting better every game.”
Her teammates and Spigarelli gave her high-fives after her first varsity interview.
“She did all right for a freshman,” quipped Spigarelli, sporting a huge grin, “and I’m talking about the game and her interview skills.”
Williams, the highly regarded freshman, added 11 points and said, “I love to see everyone get the chance to play. We were having as much fun on the bench as our girls were out on the court.
“This is the game we’ve all been waiting for.”
Kiyley Flowers led the Indians with 15 points, and Katelyn Ward added 14.