The Piper High School boys basketball team won the 4A KSHSAA state championship, defeating Augusta 86-53 in the tournament final in Salina on Saturday evening. It’s the first basketball championship in Piper school history.
Piper controlled the game from early on, outscoring the Orioles 20 to 12 in the opening quarter. The Pirates used their length to bother the Augusta shooters, and they used their speed to get to the basket and to misdirect the Oriole defense.
Piper senior Trey Bates controlled the offense, and his quick first step caused problems on the perimeter. He was repeatedly able to get space from his defender with a decoy move, then used the space for a step-back jumper or to find a teammate streaking to the basket. Piper got 46 points in the paint because of the quick movement out front, and active cutters to the lane along the baseline.
With a 17-point lead going into the fourth quarter, Piper piled on, leaving no chance for a comeback. They continued to look for high-percentage shots, hitting 68 percent of their second-half chances.
Trey Bates led the scoring with 21 in his last game in a Piper uniform. Tamar Bates was right behind with 20 points, and Friday night’s hero Ty Shelley poured in 15, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
The state championship caps a 20-4 season, in which the Pirates also captured their first Frontier League title.
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.
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.