In just one year, the Piper High School boys varsity basketball team has turned around its record from 2-19 to 17-5. The Pirates won the Class 4A basketball substate last weekend at Tonganoxie and advanced to state competition this week in Salina.
Coach Steve Wallace said he credited the turnaround to off-season commitment from the team members.
“We spent a lot of time in the gym and the weight room getting better,” Wallace said.
Last weekend, Piper defeated Sumner Academy 78-60 to take the substate championship.
The keys to the win were the team’s unselfish play and defensive intensiveness, Wallace said. Four players were in double figures.
The leading scorers for Piper were Calvin Johnson, a senior, and Luke Long, a junior, both with 15 points.
Playing against Sumner Academy made the game very interesting, Wallace said.
“It’s real exciting for our team. A lot of our guys are friends with those guys and it made it fun,” he said.
On the way to the substate victory, Piper defeated Tonganoxie 68-49 on Thursday, Feb. 28, and Perry-Lecompton 76-46 on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in substate action at Tonganoxie.
This week at Piper High School, students were preparing to take a bus Wednesday to the state tournament to support the team.
Only in his second year as head coach at Piper, Wallace and the Pirates were seeded sixth in the state tournament. The opponent on Wednesday, March 6, was Andover, which has a 20-2 record, a lot of depth and a lot of team members who can score.
The winner of the game Wednesday advances to competition Friday, with the state championship on Saturday in Salina.