No matter how far the Piper girls basketball teamtraveled from its home in Kansas City, Kan., the Pirates had not been able to escape the Bonner Springs Braves this year.
Even in tournaments in Eudora and Wellsville, Piper had to face Bonner Springs.
The familiarily came in handy on Friday night, though, when the Pirates met the Braves for the fourth time and evened up the season series with a 64-37 victory at Bonner Springs. It was the first game in the budding rivalry that was decided by more than seven points this season.
“It was an all-around big game, and I really give credit to the girls,” Piper coach Shane Stout said. “We really played well.”
The victory was especially important to Piper senior Haley White, who was trying to erase the memory of an ugly 47-21 loss on the same court last season.
“Everyone said we aren’t doing that again,” White said. “We were all ready to play, and we came out with the same mind-set that we were going to do whatever we had to to win.”
The Pirates came out hot, scoring the first seven points. But Piper really caught fire and took control in the second quarter. Piper held Bonner to just four points, including zero baskets on the final eight possessions of the quarter, in taking a commanding 50-25 lead into the locker room.
White helped lead the attack with three three-pointers. She finished with 12 points. Jessica Wayne led the Pirates with a game-high 18 points.
Caitlin Reed was the only Bonner Springs player score in double-figures. She had 13 points.
The victory was the fifth straight for the Pirates, who improved to 12-4 record and 8-2 mark in the Kaw Valley League.
“I really think we are peaking right now and really starting to play well,” Stout said. “The last two or three weeks, we have been hitting some outside shots and clicking underneath.”
Boys: Bonner Springs 56, Piper 45
Bonner Springs coach Dan Streit knew it would not be easy getting his Braves settled in on an off-day from school.
The fact that Piper did not have school either did not seem to help the matter.
The two schools battled through three sloppy, foul-filled quarters until Bonner Springs finally pulled away for the victory.
“They were out of their routine, but they came out and did what they needed to do,” Streit said.
Aaron McGee led the Braves with 19 points. He was nine for 11 from the free-throw line. As a team, Bonner Springs finished 23 for 34 from the line and 14 for 21 in the fourth quarter alone.
It was the sixth victory in seven games for the Braves, who are now 11-5. Their lone loss in that span was to undefeated Basehor-Linwood.
“Right now we have a lot of confidence,” Streit said. “We have patience on offense, and they like being around each other, which is important."