As a veteran point guard, Walter Johnson High School senior Megan Spurrell expected to be one of the shining voices of leadership this winter on a team looking to build on last season’s success by securing the program’s first trip to the state tournament since 1986.
That complimentary role became much more expanded last month when Wildcats center Kristen Larrick, the team’s star player, suffered a season-ending knee injury.
“She is playing really well, especially since Kristen went down,” Wildcats coach Lindsey Zegowitz said. “She’s really stepped up as a leader on the offensive and defensive side of the floor. She has really come into her own this year. She is the type of girl it’s hard to take out of the game because she is doing it on both ends of the floor.”
In the first eight games since Larrick dislocated her knee, Spurrell was averaging 10 points per game to go along with season-long averages of six rebounds and four assists per contest. She was averaging 8.5 points per game before the injury for a season average of nine points per game.
“I don’t only trust her with the ball on offense, but I trust her with guarding the other team’s best player,” Zegowitz said. “That’s what makes her so special. This is her second year in my system, she has really thrived. I want her to have the ball, especially at the end of the game. She’s about [a] 70 percent shooter from the line.
“She is one of the girls I love coaching. She is so coachable, she wants to learn. She wants to work hard for you. I’m going to miss her on and off the court. She’s nice and polite and respectful and has the grades. She’s an all-around great student. She’s a pleasure to coach.”
Part of Spurrell’s success in the last month can be attributed to the team’s more fast-paced style.
“We’re definitely trying to be a faster team and get the ball to the open person,” Spurrell said. “We set up players and we’ve really mastered our plays. When we get down and set up, we’re usually very successful ... I have to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and to make sure everyone’s confident.”
Through the weekend, the Wildcats had been operating on all cylinders during a six-game winning streak. They earned the No. 3 seed in the Class 4A West Region. Walter Johnson reached the region semifinals before failing to Northwest by six points in overtime a year ago.
“The team is doing really well,” Spurrell said. “I think our season has been really difficult with tons and tons of close games. We should be really prepared for the playoffs. We know how to play in those tough games that are close down at the end.”