by Brian Turrel
After losing five starters from last year’s team, the Piper girls’ basketball team begins the 2021-2022 season with a fresh start and a roster light on experience. The young team lost their season opener to the Ottawa Lady Cyclones 45-35 on Friday.
The Lady Pirates got off to a slow start, picking up only one basket in the first quarter. Piper’s tightly packed zone defense also limited Ottawa’s output, and the first half finished 20-10 in Ottawa’s favor.
The game opened up in the second half, and Ottawa stayed patient to stretch the Piper defense. Abbie Roth and Tatum Vallejo hit three-point shots for Piper in the fourth quarter, and Sage Grann got two three-point opportunities on drives to the basket.
The Lady Pirates pulled within 6 points midway through the fourth quarter, but Ottawa made timely baskets to hold the final margin at 10.
Grann made an impact on both ends of the court, leading the team with 17 points and also finding a knack for snagging errant passes to start a fast break. She also shared ball-handling duties with freshman point guard Avary Vallejo.
Marissa Covington scored 10 points in the game and also secured multiple defensive rebounds.
The Piper Lady Pirates will participate starting Monday in the Huhtamaki Hardwood Classic held by De Soto High School.