Piper defeats Tonganoxie
Girls lose in second round of substate despite late rally
Contain Jessica Shepler. Stop Calie Smith. The defensive game plan for Tonganoxie sounded deceptively simple.
Of course, those two girls usually team up for 30 to 40 points a game for Piper. And the stakes were higher. This, after all, was the postseason.
"Our whole game plan was to make sure Shepler and Smith didn't score," said John Lee, Tonganoxie girls basketball coach.
Still, Tonganoxie accomplished the seemingly impossible task of stopping an opponent's two best players.
Shepler and Smith combined for 10 points Thursday at Spring Hill. Shepler, Piper's best offensive threat, didn't score her first basket until there was only about a minute left in the third quarter.
It wasn't enough as Tonganoxie lost 40-47 to Piper in the second round of the substate tournament.
Lee had remained hopeful all season, weathering inconsistent play with the thought that his girls always had a chance.
"Obviously I'm still disappointed about it," Lee said Monday about the loss.
The Chieftains jumped to an early lead on baskets by Deaven Workman, Andrea Korb and Jill Stauch. An 11-4 lead wasn't going to win the game, however, and Piper began to crawl back despite the disappearance of its two leading scorers.
Tonganoxie didn't score for more than six minutes in the first and second quarters. Stauch's free throw with 3:56 to go in the half ended the drought, but by that time, Piper led 13-12.
Instead of a slow start, a poor second quarter really hurt Tonganoxie. Alicia Stauch hit a three point shot and Jill Stauch hit another basket. That was the offense six points in the second quarter. Piper led 19-17 at halftime.
The offense wasn't much better in the third quarter. The Chieftains managed eight points and trailed 25-34 after three periods.
Lee said the team made too many unforced turnovers in both halves of the game.
"We also didn't box out and get rebounds," Lee said.
That hurt as Kim Stine scored 25 for Piper mostly on putbacks and free throws.
Tonganoxie trailed by 10 with 2:43 left to play in the game. A rally breathed new life into the Tonganoxie bench and crowd as the Chieftains mounted one last attempt to extend their season.
Jill Stauch scored two. On the ensuing possession, Andrea Korb hit a three point shot near the top of the key.
Piper answered with a basket, and Korb promptly hit another three point shot.
When Piper missed two free throws at 1:23, Tonganoxie had the ball and trailed by only four, 39-43.
Sara Poje was fouled and hit the front end of a one-and-one opportunity. Marcy Dodge grabbed the rebound when Poje missed the second shot, but a Piper player tied her up. Piper got the ball on the alternate possession.
Tonganoxie touched the ball twice during the next 20 seconds trailing by only three points, but each time the Chieftains turned the ball over.
A conventional three point play by Piper with 41.6 seconds remaining all but put the game out of reach.
Tonganoxie finished the season 12-10. Piper won against Sumner Academy and advanced to the 4A state tournament.
Lee said Jill Stauch and Korb played well in the loss.
He said the loss of Aimee Eisman, who fouled out with 3:24 to play, hurt the team down the stretch.
Korb finished with 12 points including three three pointers. Jill Stauch had 11. Workman scored six. Alicia Stauch and Poje each scored three.