The Piper girls basketball team continued their dominant run through the 2018-2019 season, defeating the Tonganoxie Lady Chieftains 56 to 20 at Piper on Friday night.
The Lady Chieftains were powerless to stop the Lady Pirates well-known pressing defense and strong inside shooting.
The Pirates took a commanding 28-1 first quarter lead. Evelyn Vazquez, Ali Vigil and LaKya Leslie were all able to lead successful fast breaks that turned the game into a one-sided contest.
Coach Shane Stout relied on his bench extensively in the second half, putting freshman Saniya Simmons at point to gather valuable game experience.
Ryan Cobbins led Piper with 12 points, including 3 three-pointers, while Evelyn Vazquez and Grace Banes each contributed 10.
The win takes the Lady Pirates to 8-0 in the conference, 15-0 overall. They are ranked second in the state in Class 4A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches’ Association, behind only Roeland Park’s Bishop Miege High School, which knocked the Piper girls out of the state tournament last year.
The Piper girls will play next on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against St. Joseph’s Benton High School, a make-up of the championship game of the Bobcat Invitational, which was postponed due to inclement weather.
The Piper Pirates boys basketball team took second place in the Bobcat Invitational Basketball tournament on Friday night, losing 62-51 to Washburn Rural High School in the final game, which was moved earlier to stay ahead of the incoming winter storm.
A loss to the Junior Blues wasn’t inconceivable in this contest between two of Kansas’s best teams. Washburn Rural is fourth-ranked in class 6A for the biggest high schools, while Piper is the top-ranked school in class 4A.
Piper’s path to the final result was a rollercoaster ride, climbing to the peak of a 19-point halftime lead, and then suddenly plummeting as the Junior Blues took control in the third quarter.
Piper built their lead on great shooting and solid defense. Piper’s Ty Shelley, Trey Bates and Tamar Bates each hit two 3-pointers in the first half. The Pirates’ defense allowed Blues’ star Jordan White to collect 11 points in the half, but the rest of the Blues combined scored only 6.
In the second half, Washburn Rural opened with a heavy half-court press that seemed to catch Piper off guard. Washburn collected several steals that they returned for layups, and quickly brought their deficit back under 10.
Piper coach Toure Grimes called three timeouts within 3 1/2 minutes in the third quarter to try to steady the team, but the Blues’ run continued. They moved back in front in the closing seconds of the third quarter for a 41-40 lead, holding Piper to one made basket and 4 points in the quarter.
The Pirates steadied their offense in the fourth quarter, speeding up their passing to keep out of Washburn’s press, but they lacked their first half shooting touch and weren’t able to keep pace. White hit 6-of-6 free throws in the final minutes to seal Washburn’s win.
Piper defeated Basehor-Linwood and St. Joe Central on their path to the final. They’ll be back in action against Shawnee Heights on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
The Piper girls’ basketball team was also scheduled to play for the tournament championship on Friday evening, but their game, against St. Joe Central, was rescheduled due to weather. The game will be Tuesday evening in Piper.
The Washington Wildcats defeated the Harmon Hawks on Friday night 58-56. The Wildcats overcame a 5-point fourth quarter deficit to pull ahead in the closing minutes. Washington sealed the win with 8-of-9 free throw shooting down the stretch.
The game was televised on Spectrum Sports as their game of the week. Loud, passionate fans from both teams filled the fieldhouse, even with the snow piling up outside.
Harmon opened the game on a high note, getting a backboard-shaking dunk from Lonell Lane off of a turnover. Lane was then called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, and Washington picked up the next 10 points for an early advantage.
The fast action and quick change in momentum had fans from both teams roaring. The Hawks recovered their poise and the first quarter lead at 19-16.
Harmon steadily built their advantage through the second quarter, leading by 7 with less than a minute in the half. Harmon looked to run down the clock, but two quick defensive stops lowered the advantage to 30-27 at halftime.
Washington kept within striking distance throughout the second half, and finally made their move with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Wildcats’ Alton Easley drove for a layup and converted the and-one foul shot for a three-point play and a 51-50 lead.
Even with the slim margin, Washington looked to run down the clock, and they slowed their offensive tempo. They ran the time down to less than a minute, and the Hawks were forced to foul to extend the game to no avail.
Easley finished the game with 34 points for the Wildcats, including 10-of-10 from the free throw line, and Nathan Johnson added 10. Lane led the Hawks with 26 points, and Santos Ruiz scored 13.
The win keeps Washington undefeated in the Kansas City – Atchison League (4-0, 7-1 overall). The play next at Ottawa on Jan. 22. Harmon drops to 2-2 in the league (5-3 overall). They head to the Baldwin varsity tournament next weekend.