Cee Cee Burris will go down in history as one of the finest players in the history of the Blue Springs High School basketball program.

Cee Cee Burris will go down in history as one of the finest players in the history of the Blue Springs High School basketball program.

She will also be remembered as one of the classiest Wildcats to ever step on the purple and gold court, according to those closest to her.

“She’s just in a class by herself,” coach Mark Spigarelli said. “As good as she was on the court, she’s an even better person. Gosh, we’re going to miss her. She’s going to be irreplaceable.”

For the third year in a row, Burris led the Wildcats to the Class 4 final four, and for the third year in a row, Spigarelli’s team returned to Blue Springs with a second-place trophy.

“Any honor I’ve ever received,” Burris said, “I’d trade for a state title.”

When she was informed that she was named the 2010-11 Examiner Player of the Year, she said, “Can I trade it for a state championship?

“Seriously, that is such a nice honor. Now that all the team stuff is over, it’s nice to get an honor like that from The Examiner. But winning state was my only real goal the past three years.

“We did a lot of good things, but that one goal always seemed to elude us.”

During Burris’ reign, the Wildcats won three consecutive conference titles, she was named to three Examiner All-Area teams and she capped an amazing career with the Player of the Year award.

This past season she averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds a game and shot 56 percent from the field.

“You won’t find anyone who deserves it more than Cee Cee,” Spigarelli said. “She made everyone else on the court a better player. Her inside/out game was just sensational. She’d get the ball down low and pass it out to Lizzy (Wendell, the Wildcats 3-point specialist) and get our outside game going.”

Someday, Burris might be able to look back on her prep career with more of a positive outlook. But now, even though the season has been wrapped up for weeks, she still wonders what might have been.

“I considered myself a leader on this team, and it always bothered me that we had so many issues with different players and parents and things like that,” she said.

“Don’t get me wrong. I love the girls I played with. But there were just so many things going on off the court. I wonder if we would have been able to put that all aside, well, we might have won a state title.

“I know that I considered myself a leader, and when we were out on the court, all we thought about was the game. We had so much talent that our players on the bench could have started for most teams.

“And until the end of the season, we didn’t have the problems we had my junior year. But stuff happened, and it was a distraction, but right before state, I think we used it to inspire us and make us stronger.”

A member of the team left the Wildcats the week before state and Spigarelli had to deal with parental issues. Yet the Wildcats went to Columbia, Mo., and defeated St. Joseph’s Academy 61-43 to advance to the title game.

“That was the best game we played all year,” said Burris, who scored a team-high 20 points. “We were all on the same page. Everyone played great, and we felt like we were going to go into the championship game and finally win.”

But it didn’t happen. Burris and Wendell scored a team-high 15 points each, but Incarnate Word downed the Wildcats 59-49.

“I know there are a lot of players who dream of going to a Final Four, and we went to three in a row,” she said. “When you’re as competitive as I am, and all you think about is winning state, finishing second just leaves that bad taste in your mouth.”

Although she is finished playing basketball at Blue Springs, Burris is hoping for a bright future in sunny Florida.

She will play basketball at Stetson University just outside of Orlando.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “It’s going to be a challenge, and I love challenge.”