Piper ends Nickerson's title game bid in big semifinal win

SALINA, Kan. - It was just not Nickerson's night on the court in Salina Friday night.

Kansas City Piper, who entered the day a perfect 22-0 as the top seed in the 4A state tournament, jumped on the Lady Panthers early and never let up, rolling to a 72-40 semifinal win.

The Pirates shot 63% from the field in the first half, building a 42-17 halftime lead before winning by 32.

Nine different players saw 10-plus minutes of action, a relentless attack that actually saw the bench outscore the starters, 44-28 in the win. Grace Banes led the attack for Piper, dropping 15 off the bench on 6/10 shooting, three of those makes coming from deep. Allison Vigil scored 13, while LaKya Leslie added 9.

Nickerson was paced by Madison Ontjes' 14 points, the only Nickerson player to cross double figures in scoring. Now sitting at 20-4, the Lady Panthers will get a chance to end their season on a high note in Saturday's third place game against Baldwin.

Piper will take on fellow unbeaten Bishop Miege in a clash between two teams that posted 30+ point semifinal wins. Miege is making their sixth consecutive title game appearance, falling short in loss to McPherson a year ago. Saturday's contest will be the first time Piper has played in a championship game.