COLUMN: Thoughts on the Paola Invitational, KCK Preps to broadcast title game


It did not take very long for me to get the itch to broadcast some basketball.  I attended games on Friday and then again on Monday.  With a Bonner Springs vs Piper final at the Paola tournament, it would simply be criminal for us not to bring you the game live.

We have got confirmation as well on Tuesday evening to call the immediate rematch of these two teams at Bonner Springs.  This will be a two round battle, but the stakes on Friday are a bit higher and here are a few reasons why.

Piper is coming off a season in which they struggled to find wins.  They are heading into their fourth game of the season with an opportunity to tie their season total from last year.  Least we mention that it is always good practice claiming a title.  This had to have the feel of a substate with the two teams Piper played - Harmon and Paola.  Claiming a win against a Kaw Valley League foe would certainly build some momentum in league play.

Bonner Springs is out to prove that they are not rebuilding.  It sure would be nice for Austin Twombley to kick of his Bonner Springs career with a tournament win.  They have played some incredible defense, holding their first to opponents to 32 and 36.  This is an opportunity for the Braves also to put a stop to Piper's momentum.

A few other random thoughts:

1.  Cole Henley is from Bonner Springs but is now at Bishop Ward.  He is a sophomore and plays extremely hard.  Ward has an interesting combination with him and Evan "Rainbow" Brull.  Good job claiming that first win.

2.  I don't have a shred of panic for Harmon's loss to Piper.  The issues that led to that loss thankfully are easily fixed.  I think they learned a valuable lesson early in the season about playing with a lead.  Basketball requires a lot of thought and awareness.

Harmon trailed most of the first half.  They spent most of the 3rd quarter coming back and eventually building a lead to 10.  The issue was clearly that they didn't move out of come back mode after getting ahead. 

Quick shots and missed free throws allowed Piper to get back into the game. While Piper's comeback was very impressive, I feel Harmon can look in the mirror for why they lost.

JuJuan Taylor is going to have a fantastic senior season.  The young man is lightning fast and hung up a 32-spot tuesday night.  I am looking forward to the two Washington games.  Trevillion vs Taylor is going to be fun to watch.

I really like what I saw out of Mike Carson.  Piper's CJ Harper played a very tough game against him, but Carson showed clearly he was the best player on the court.  I was extremly impressed with his ability to step through the lane and get a bucket and foul against Colton Beebe.  The only thing I will look for is how Carson handles the double team.

Piper was very creative in sending the double team from the baseline only allowing Carson to move into the lane.  There were more than a few occassions that Carson turned and held the ball with no clear plan.  This will improve during the season.

I am leading the Harmon bandwagon!

3.  I can't pass up an opportunity to talk about Luke Long from Piper.  Since watching his film late last year, I have been intrigued by this young man.  I haven't put a finger on who his game reminds me of just yet.  I do know he needs to have an itchy trigger on the court.

4.  The single biggest surprise to me is CJ Harper.  As mentioned earlier, he showed very well against Carson and held his own against Nathan Stacy from Mill Valley.  If Piper gets him to be consistent through out the year, look out.

5.  Keep your eye on Deion Wilson at Schlagle.  They do not have a ton of size in Stallion country, but this young man plays hard in the paint.  His 14 point, 11 rebound performance against Barstow was impressive.

6.  If you have not had a chance to watch the media coverage, then please treat yourself.  Washington head coach Eric King and Bonner Springs coach Dan Streit really stuck out to me.  There was a real moment at the end of the Washington segment between player and coach that has me believing in the chemistry at Washington.