PREVIEW: Bonner Springs, Piper girls teams battle for Eudora crown


By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com

In the first of two Bonner Springs-Piper championship games this week, the Braves and Pirates girls basketball teams will do battle in Eudora for the championship.

A quick preview of the game, along with how they got here.

1. Anna Deegan is back in the lineup for the Bonner Springs Braves. After missing the opening game due to injury, she returned in Bonner's second round victory against Paola. She had 14 points and 6 rebounds in her 2012-13 debut.

2. Three sophomores for Bonner Springs are stepping up immediately. Mikaela Bennett, Abrise Sims and Kaleigh Taylor are averaging over 30 points a game combined, a strong effort from the three young players. Sims is averaging 13.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game. Taylor is averaging 7.5 points and 6.0 rebounds, while Bennett is chipping in with a solid 12 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game line. Bonner Springs lost a lot with graduation, but it appears this team could be reloading, not rebuilding.

3. Haley Hoffine has stuffed the stat-sheet so far in Eudora. She's averaging 6.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 steals a game. She went under the radar last season, but she's stepped up her game to begin the year.

4. Megan Woolley has led the way for the Piper Pirates so far in the tournament. Her 18-point performance against St. James Academy pushed the Pirates to the second round, where they easily manhandled Highland Park. Jasmine Wayne also added 18 points in the Piper win against St. James Academy.

5. Piper brings in a lot of youth into the game as well. Sydney Mansaw and Connor Shriver are the only two seniors on the roster. Five sophomores and two freshmen could sneak into the game at any point, as they are listed on the varsity roster.

6. A big key to the game will be rebounding. Bonner Springs is averaging over 30 rebounds so far in the tournament and the Pirates must keep them off the glass to have a shot at what I think would be an upset. If Piper can contain Bonner's rebuilding efforts, the Pirates have a chance.

7. Piper is looking for a bit of revenge on Bonner Springs. The Braves knocked them off three times last season, including in the sub-state tournament. Last year's game at Piper was very competitive.

PREDICTION: I'm picking Bonner Springs to win this game. I think they're a little deeper to begin the season and depth always matters in these tournaments. This will be the third game in the last four days for both teams. That's always tough - and in Piper's case, it's the fourth game in the past six days. Look for Piper to get better in the season and when they meet again in league, they could pull an upset. They have some young talent. But for the championship game in Eudora, I think the Braves will conquer the Pirates.