by Brian Turrel
The Piper Pirates’ hopes for consecutive Kaw Valley League championships took a hit on Tuesday evening when they lost to rival Basehor-Linwood High School, 75-68.
The Bobcats’ quick defense prevented Piper from getting shooters open outside.
Basehor was quick in the paint as well, drawing three charge calls by getting defenders in position on Piper drives. Basehor established its outside attack from the beginning, hitting 5 three-pointers in the first quarter and taking a 14-point halftime lead.
Piper made a few runs at the lead in the second half, closing within single digits multiple times before letting Basehor slip away.
Freshman Tamar Bates, recently back from an injury, came on strong with 12 second-half points. Sophomore Ty Shelley also helped the comeback effort, hitting two three-pointers and two of three foul shots in the fourth quarter.
Errant outlet passes and offensive fouls were missed opportunities that prevented the Pirates from closing the gap further. Basehor got plenty of work at the free throw line to close the game, hitting 16 of 23 chances in the fourth quarter.
Covington led the Pirates with 21 points and 5 assists, but didn’t have his usual shooting touch, going 1-for-6 from three point range. Tamar Bates ended with 13 total points, 3 assists and 5 rebounds. Gabe Eskina was the leader on the boards, picking up 7 rebounds.
The longtime rivals will play again on Feb. 13 in what may be their last meeting for some time. The teams are in separate classifications and will move to different leagues for the 2018-2019 season.
Piper is now 4-2 in the league (9-5 overall), two games behind leader Bonner Springs. Piper will play at Tonganoxie High School at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2.