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.