Blue Springs Throttles Parkway South, 65-44

By Shawn Garrison,

It’s been a process of trial and error for the Blue Springs girls basketball team this season, but the Wildcats might have finally found an offense that suits them.

In a clash of top-10 Class 5 teams on Friday, the fifth-ranked Cats played one of their most complete games to date in a 65-44 dismantling of sixth-ranked Parkway South at Blue Springs High School.

Senior Lizzy Wendell notched a career-high 31 points while senior point guard Karyla Middlebrook poured in 19 as the Cats (9-2) discovered an offensive rhythm that’s so often eluded them this season.

“When Lizzy plays at that level and Karyla plays at that level, we’re a totally different team,” Blue Springs coach Mark Spigarelli said. “We’re as good as any team probably in the state when they play at that level.”

Over the last week, Blue Springs has implemented six or seven special plays that tries to free Wendell and Middlebrook for looks using a series of quick screens. This is the third significant offensive switch the Cats have made this season.  Spigarelli started with a system that utilized dribble drives but ditched it before the Hy-Vee Shootout last month as the offense sputtered. They then tried to revert to a scheme similar to last year’s that was heavy on cuts, but he thought that would leave Wendell and Middlebrook too fatigued by game’s end.

Now, Spigarelli might have finally hit his mark. Wendell, who scored her 1,000th career point in the Visitation Tournament over the holidays, dominated from the outset against the Patriots, scoring 13 points in the first quarter and 21 by halftime. Parkway South coach Thomas Williams knew what was coming, and he adjusted by briefly switching to a box-and-two defense. It didn’t matter as Wendell and Middlebrook repeatedly popped open and scored 38 of Blue Springs’ first 40 points.

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