by Brian Turrel
The Piper Pirates basketball team won its home opener Friday against Ottawa 73-53.
Jaron Briggs hit two three-pointers in the first quarter to establish his presence outside, but the Cyclones were able to keep pace, and finished the quarter tied at 14.
Piper started to pull away in the second quarter, outscoring the Cyclones by 10. Ottawa had only two made baskets in the quarter, but made 8 of 12 free throw attempts. Piper made three 3-pointers, one each from Colin Vigil, Gannon Roth, and Alex Ivanuska.
The third quarter was a slugfest of defense. There were 25 combined shots from the free throw line, and the frequent whistles slowed the game. The atmosphere on the court was becoming chippy, and the referees dispensed offsetting technical fouls at one point to get the teams’ attention.
The Pirates got the better of the third-quarter scrap, thanks in part to two 3-pointers from Roth, and they ended the quarter with a 56-40 advantage.
Vigil and Roth both struck again from the outside in the fourth quarter, and the Pirates extended the lead to 20 at the final whistle.
Jaron Briggs led the Pirates with 26 points, including 10 of 13 from the free throw line. Gannon Roth added 17 points off the bench, including four 3-pointers. Alex Ivanuska scored 11.
Now 1-0, the Pirates will play next week in the Huhtamaki Hardwood Classic, held by De Soto High School. The opening game will be against Olathe Northwest at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.