The Piper Pirates head into post-season play with a full head of steam, knocking off the Eudora Cardinals 62-41 Friday evening at the Piper fieldhouse. The Pirates finished the season ranked first in Class 4A, and will attempt to duplicate last year’s championship run.
Piper’s multiple scoring options were more than enough to sink Eudora. Tamar Bates showed his ability to blow past defenders or to pull up and hit an outside shot. Gabe Eskina and Ty Shelley provided outlets on the wing, while Christian Arndt battled down low, controlling the boards on both ends.
Bates led the scoring with 21 points, picking up 12 in Piper’s 19-point second quarter. That scoring burst gave Piper a 29-16 halftime margin and made clear the outcome of the game wasn’t in doubt. Jaron Briggs scored 11, hitting three 3-pointers.
Piper celebrated its senior players in a ceremony before the game. Seniors Ty Shelley, Gabe Eskina, Christian Arndt, Scott Lindblad, Parker Bryant were honored, along with team manager Jack Robinson.
The Pirates earned the Frontier League title with a perfect record in conference games. The only blemish in the 19-1 season was a narrow loss to 5A contenders Basehor-Linwood on Jan. 25.
Piper will tip off the sub-state playoffs on Wednesday, March 4, by playing host to the 5-15 Atchison Redmen. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
The Piper Lady Pirates defeated conference rivals Eudora on Friday night, claiming the Frontier League crown with a 48-39 home win.
The title was up for grabs coming into the game, with both teams boasting undefeated conference records. Eudora fought tough through the first half on the strength of freshman Sawyer Schreiner’s lights-out shooting.
As the game wore on and Piper focused its defense on stopping Schreiner, the Lady Cardinals’ offense struggled, while the Lady Pirates surged ahead.
Piper’s offense was powered by senior Ali Vigil. Vigil scored inside and out, hitting 3 three-pointers and scoring 19 overall. She also served as a primary ball-handler while point guard Evelyn Vazquez sat out parts of both halves with foul trouble.
Vigil was also recognized on the court during a break in the fourth quarter for scoring her 1,000th career point.
Piper recognized senior players in a ceremony after the game. Ali Vigil, Emma Serrano, Riley Porter, Grace Banes, Ayreona Carter and Ashley Williams were honored.
Piper will head into the KSHSAA 4A sub-state playoffs next week. Brackets and game times will be announced Saturday morning.
Piper is ranked second in the state in the 4A division and Eudora is ranked third, so a rematch with the Lady Cardinals is a good possibility. Also looming is a potential showdown with last year’s champion, the top-ranked Bishop Miege Lady Stags.
Update: The Piper Lady Pirates will open the KSHSAA 4A sub-state playoffs by playing host to Ottawa on March 3, tipping off at 7 p.m.
The Bishop Ward Lady Cyclones won the Crossroads Conference title outright Friday evening, with a 76-17 drubbing of the Barstow Lady Knights. It was Ward’s ninth consecutive win.
Ward had control of the game all night, starting with defense. Applying heavy pressure on the ball, the Cyclones also had a knack for picking off Barstow passes for turnovers that turned into fast breaks.
Guards Jimena Lopez De La Cruz and Vanesa Otero forced the tempo on offense, and drove to the basket or found forwards Perla Frayre-Delgado and Tina Rosales for scoring opportunities.
De La Cruz led the scoring with 15 points. Delgado dropped in 14, and Rosales 10. In all, 10 players scored for the Lady Cyclones.
Head coach Dominique Washington, in his first year at Ward, has the team playing at a high tempo and encouraged the team’s intensity and effort. Ward administrator Kam Ridley also credited the team’s success this year to the teamwork of a group of players with years of experience together.
Ward’s prospects next year look bright, losing only one starter to graduation. Key players like Delgado and Otero are still juniors. Freshman Mercedez Dominguez lit up the offense when she came on late, hitting 3 of 4 three-point shots.
The Lady Cyclones hold a 14-4 record going into the last two games of the season. Ward will play host to Atchison on Monday at KCKCC, tipping off at 6 p.m. The Cyclones will finish the regular season on the road at Pembroke Hill on Feb. 25, and are projected to be the host of a KSHSAA 3A playoff game on March 3.