Lady Pirates runners-up at 4A state tourney

The 2018-2019 Piper Lady Pirates posed together with the 4A state tournament runner-up trophy. Piper lost the final game against Bishop Miege, 60-41. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Piper Lady Pirates suffered their only loss of the season in their showdown with the Bishop Miege Lady Stags in the final of the 4A KSHSAA state tournament in Salina. The contest featured Kansas’s two best girls basketball teams, but the final result seemed set early on.

Bishop Miege’s speed prevented Piper from enforcing their usual trapping defense, and Miege took full advantage, pushing the ball ahead and using sharp inlet passes to create easy shots.

Piper’s odds dimmed less than two minutes in when forward Ali Vigil went down with a knee injury while trying to cut off a Miege shooter. Vigil was on the floor for a few minutes before being carried off the court by trainers. She returned to the bench in the second half on crutches.

Miege’s defense also kept Piper off balance. They were able to keep the Piper guards in front of them, and Piper wasn’t able to free up their outside shooters. Piper found the most success directly off the dribble from guards Evelyn Vazquez and Samiya Simmons.

When Piper’s forwards attempted to go inside, they were met with fierce resistance. Miege picked up a total of 10 blocks in the game. Piper’s usually accurate shooting suffered, dropping to 28 percent from the field.

Vazquez led the Lady Pirates with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Ryan Cobbins scored 9 points, and Saniya Simmons added 8.

Piper ends the season with a 23-1 record, and conference and substate championships.

Evelyn Vazquez went up for a layup. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Senior Ryan Cobbins (23) went up for a layup. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Piper senior LaKya Leslie (24) had her shot blocked by Miege’s Faith Hawthorne (33). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Piper junior Riley Porter (12) had her shot in the lane blocked from behind. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Piper sophomore Jessica Thomas (21) took an outside jump shot. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Piper junior Grace Banes (15) drove in the lane. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Piper sophomore Evelyn Vazquez (3) drove to the basket against Bishop Miege’s Johnni Gonzalez (4). Vazquez led the Pirates with 12 points. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Evelyn Vazquez tried an up-and-under move to get around the Miege defense. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Riley Porter took a shot defended by Miege’s Ashton Verhulst (42). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Piper freshman Saniya Simmons (1) went up for a layup. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Piper sends two teams to state hoops finals

Piper High School has never played for a basketball state championship in school history. Now the Pirates have a chance for two.

Both Piper basketball teams will be playing for state championships on Saturday after winning Friday’s semifinal matches in the 4A KSHSAA state tournament in Salina.

The Piper boys defeated Wichita’s top-seeded Trinity Academy 57-54 in a nailbiter. After Trinity tied the game at 54 with less than a minute remaining, Piper’s Ty Shelley hit a 3-pointer for the game winner with less than 5 seconds left.

The Pirates will face the winner of the late game between Augusta and Baldwin for the championship at 6:15 p.m.

The Piper Lady Pirates outperformed the Nickerson Panthers to win the 4A KSHSAA semifinal game 72-40. The win sets up a long-expected match between the state’s two best girls basketball teams, Piper and Bishop Miege, in the finals at 4 p.m.

Grace Banes led Piper in scoring with 15 points on 3-of-6 shots from 3-point range. Ali Vigil scored 13, including three baskets beyond the arc. The Lady Pirates as a team hit 55 percent from the floor and 41 percent from 3-point range.

Update: The Piper boys team will face Augusta in the finals at 6:15 PM.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Piper fire station postponed

The groundbreaking ceremony scheduled on Saturday for the new Piper fire station has been postponed because of the weather.

According to a Unified Government spokesman, the groundbreaking will take place at a later date because of the forecast of rain.

The groundbreaking date is now at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 13, at 2913 Hutton Road, Kansas City, Kansas. Because of construction on Hutton Road, access to the site is available only by Leavenworth Road.