Piper runners-up at Bobcat tourney

Junior Braijion Barnes (4) went up against Washburn Rural’s Jordan White (15). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

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.

Senior Trey Bates (1) drove in for a layup. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Braijion Barnes looked for a driving lane. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Sophomore Tamar Bates (14) went for a layup. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Trey Bates was announced under the spotlights before the game. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Piper head coach Toure Grimes encouraged his team during a timeout in the second half. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Sophomore Trey Bates (14) shouted as he was fouled on his way to the basket. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
The Piper cheerleaders performed stunts during a break in the action. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Junior Ty Shelley looked for an entry pass from the right corner. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)
Junior Gabe Eskina (24) went up under the Washburn Rural defender. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Wildcats hold the line, beat Harmon 58-56

Harmon sophomore Lonell Lane (10) opened the game with a breakaway dunk. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

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.

Washington junior Alton Easley (0) hit a free throw to give the Wildcats the lead for good. Easley was 5-for-5 on free throws in the fourth quarter. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Harmon senior Marlon Bowens (2) took an acrobatic hook shot in the second half. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Harmon sophomore Mike Carson (23) took a charge on this Alton Easley drive. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Alton Easley faked a move before driving the ball past Harmon senior Santos Ruiz (1). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Lonell Lane  looked to penetrate the Wildcat defense. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Harmon cheerleaders performed stunts between quarters. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Washington cheerleaders reacted to the late comeback by their team. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Washington junior Thomas Anderson (31) pulled down a defensive rebound. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Washington junior Terrance Johnson (5) tried a post move against the Harmon defense. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Alton Easley looked to kick the ball back out to the perimeter. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

Pioneers top Bears 85-35 in UKC opener

Turner senior Reneaux Jackson (12) went up for a finger roll in the first half of Friday night’s game against Leavenworth. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Turner Bears got a rude welcome to United Kansas Conference basketball, falling 85-35 to the visiting Leavenworth Pioneers on Friday night.

The Pioneers held a significant height advantage and used their length in a crushing press defense that limited the Bears’ offense throughout the game.

The Bears saw some success in breaking the Leavenworth press, especially early in the second half, with outlet passes down the side to Reneaux Jackson, who used his speed to finish those plays at the rim.

The loss drops the Bears to 0-5 on the season. They will play next at Lansing on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Junior Jalen Nelson (10) was defended by Leavenworth senior Nathan Dalby (12). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Jackson took a steal back for a drive in the lane, but was called for a charge against Leavenworth junior JaHawn Byrd (15). (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Leavenworth junior Reece Williams (33) went up for a dunk. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Sophomore guard Chris Pursley (3) drove the ball against a Leavenworth defender. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

The Turner Goldenettes dance group performed at halftime. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Junior Nick Gordon (20) brought the ball up court. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Senior Chris Burch (22) took a short-range jump shot in the lane. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Jalen Nelson went up for a layup on a fast break. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)

 

Junior TyRay Washington (14) dribbled in for a score in the second half. (Photo copyright 2019 by Brian Turrel)