by Brian Turrel
“A steal and a score, Evelyn Vazquez.” Piper’s public address announcer said that a lot during Wednesday evening’s girls basketball match against Shawnee Heights. The Lady Pirates won the game 67-35.
Vazquez scored 19, most of them by taking the ball away from the Lady Thunderbirds and sprinting the length of the court for a layup. The defense didn’t stop with Vazquez. A full team defensive effort smothered the Thunderbirds’ offensive prospects.
Piper did most of its damage in the first half, running up a 44-13 lead at the break and only allowing Shawnee Heights 4 points in the second quarter.
In the second half, Piper coach Shane Stout relied heavily on his reserves and practiced different personnel sets and ball handlers. With five seniors in his core rotation, Stout has some big changes to prepare for next season, even while he gears up for a long post-season run.
The game marked the return of Ali Vigil to Piper’s home court. Vigil, rehabbing after knee surgery following the state championship loss last March, saw her first game action Friday at Spring Hill. Heading into the playoffs, Vigil’s height and shooting touch will give the Lady Pirates a lot more offensive flexibility.
Vazquez’s 19 points led all scorers. Vigil and Ayreona Carter both added 12, while Grace Banes scored 11, including 3 three-pointers.
The Lady Pirates improved their season record to 14-2 (6-0 in the Frontier League). They’ll play host to Bonner Springs on Tuesday, starting at 6 p.m.