One state-tournament venue. Two high school basketball championship games. And two very different storylines.
The girls from Bishop Miege won their 21st Kansas Class 4A state title in program history Saturday, beating Piper High 60-41 in a battle of unbeatens at Salina’s Tony’s Pizza Events Center.
On the boys’ side, it was a first-timer hoisting the hardware: Piper’s boys team hammered Augusta 86-53 to bring home the program’s first title in school history.
All five of the Pirates’ high-flying starters reached double-digit scoring in a win that probably eased some of the sting of their school’s loss in the girls’ finale.
Senior guard Trey Bates led the way with 21 points and seven assists for Piper (21-4). He was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. His sophomore brother, Tamar Bates, added 16 points. Junior guard Ty Shelley finished with 15.
Junior guard Jaren Jackson led Augusta (18-7) with 20 points.
Piper was able to sub out its starters with about 2 minutes left, the school’s first boys basketball championship comfortably secured.
Girls: Bishop Miege 60, Piper 41
Make it 21 for Bishop Miege. As in 21 state championships in girls high school basketball.
Both teams entered this showdown unbeaten, and though longtime coach Terry English’s said his Miege squad didn’t have a great shooting night, the Stags were the better-shooting group on Saturday. They locked down defensively and were excellent on the boards, English said.
Sophomore Faith Hawthorne led the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Ashton Verhulst had 11 points and seven rebounds and sister Payton Verhulst added seven points and 10 rebounds.
English said every year offers different challenges, and 2019 was no different. Last year’s team fell in the state championship game to McPherson after a run of four straight titles.
English said this group seemed to enjoy every second around one another, and that’s what keeps him going after so many years and titles.
“It’s just about the smiles on the kids’ faces at the end of the year,” he said.
Evelyn Vazquez led the Pirates (23-1) with 12 points and seven rebounds; Ryan Cobbins scored nine points and Saniya Simmons eight.
The Stags stayed strong throughout the game. Miege led 26-16 at halftime and built from there. It was 44-25 entering the final quarter.
Miege advanced to the championship game with a quarterfinal win over Circle and semifinal victory over Baldwin.
The juggernaut Stags have now won titles in: 1978, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019.