by Brian Turrel
The Bonner Springs boys basketball team held off a fourth quarter rally by Piper to earn a 73-61 victory Friday night on the Bonner Springs home court.
Bonner Springs held a small but consistent lead through the first three quarters, fending off the Pirates with three-pointers from guard A.J. Watson when they threatened to close the gap. The score was 39-34 in Bonner’s favor at halftime.
Bonner led 50-45 at the third quarter break, but six quick points put Piper in front with only 30 seconds off the fourth quarter clock. Coach Dan Streit called a timeout to steady the Braves, who responded by getting a stop on Piper’s next possession.
With the score tied at 53, Watson hit another three-pointer to take the lead back for good. Piper was forced to foul to extend the clock, and Bonner hit 13 of 14 free throws to close out the game.
Watson paced the Braves with 32 points, including 6 three-point baskets. Keyon Thomas added 24, using his speed to get to the rim off the dribble.
Braijion Barnes scored 16 for the Pirates and provided strong interior defense. Doc Covington added 15.
Omar Brantley and Maryam Zlitni were named courtwarming king and queen during a halftime ceremony.
The Braves sit atop the Kaw Valley League with a 5-0 record (8-1 overall). Piper drops to 3-1 in the league (6-3 overall). Both teams head to non-conference tournaments on Tuesday, Bonner at the Baldwin tournament, and Piper at Spring Hill.