Pirates end Jags’ state dreams
Second-round substate action last Friday at Mill Valley proved to be the dagger for the sixth-seeded Jaguars, who fell to Piper 52-45.
Since the introduction of the three-point line in 1980, the shot has been known as the great equalizer.
Piper senior Chris Hargis connected on 8-of-10 three-pointers, four in each half, and led the scoring with a game-high 26 points, carrying second-seeded Piper to the sub-state championship.
Mill Valley coach Justin Bogart said his team was aware Hargis was a threat, but the Jags' extra attention on Hargis did not seem to disrupt him.
"He was just unconscious tonight," Bogart said of Hargis. "We made that a point of emphasis in practice, but he knocked down some huge shots tonight. Give him a lot of credit."
For a while, all Hargis' bombs did was keep Piper in the game. With 6-foot-6-inch senior Lorenzo Lasley plagued with three first-half fouls, Piper's game was thrown out of whack, and Mill Valley made the Pirates pay.
Behind the solid shooting of senior Travis Chavez, Mill Valley jumped out to a 14-9 first-quarter lead. All nine of Piper's points in the quarter came from three Hargis treys.
Hargis' fourth three-pointer tied the score 14-14 midway through the second quarter. Then, the Jags regrouped and Chavez scored seven of his 15 first-half points in the final 4:22 of the quarter, giving Mill Valley a 25-21 halftime lead.
Chavez finished the game with a team-high 17 points, but was disappointed in his team's fourth-quarter collapse.
"That was the plan from the get-go to take it to Lasley," Chavez said. "When he picked up his third I thought we were in great shape, but in the fourth quarter we were just flat; we deflated completely."
Before reaching the fourth quarter, the Jags extended their lead to nine, 35-26, with 2:39 to play in the third quarter.
Twenty seconds into the fourth quarter Lasley picked up his fourth foul of the game, but it came a minute and a half after Mill Valley's Cody Ptacek picked up his fourth foul. With the two stars on the bench, Piper was able to claw back into the contest.
Hargis' eighth three-pointer of the night tied the game at 37 with 4:30 remaining. Both Lasley and Ptacek were back on the floor.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, however, that was a better scenario for Piper than it was for Mill Valley.
Lasley exploded in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of his 14 points in the final frame. Chavez said Lasley's outburst was just a result of the game wearing on the Jaguars.
"They work the high-low game better than any team in the league," Chavez said. "And after three quarters of trying to defend that, it just wears on you. He got free for a few lobs and he got it done. It was disappointing because I know we were giving it all we had."
Lasley's bucket at the 3:30 mark tied the score 41-41. One minute later he scored again and gave Piper a lead it would never relinquish.
The loss dropped Mill Valley to 10-12 on the season, but despite finishing below .500, Bogart said he was extremely proud of his squad.
"Call me crazy, but I think this year's 10-12 team was better than last year's 12-10 team," Bogart said. "Our record doesn't indicate the true ability of our basketball team."