When Piper Bauer was playing on a recreational league basketball team in fifth and sixth grade, her team lost the championship two years in a row.
That rubbed her the wrong way.
“I realized I wanted to win and be better,” Bauer said.
So she started working on her game more and more every day, shooting at the YMCA with her parents and playing year-round.
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“I work on it every day,” Bauer said.
Her work has paid off so far. She made the varsity basketball team at Peninsula High School this winter, and has been a regular contributor off the bench for the Seahawks, averaging 5.1 points and 1.3 assists per game at the point guard position.
“She’s been pretty solid,” coach Mike Schick said. “She has a great feel for the game, a really high basketball IQ. She’s had her ups and downs. In some games, she looks like a seasoned vet, and in others, she has some freshman jitters.”
But Schick mostly sees potential. Still, he’s careful not too much too much responsibility on the shoulders of his younger players.
“She’s got a very high ceiling,” Schick said. “She can take it as far as she wants to take it. I want to see all our players flourish, but I’m a little cautious with our freshmen, trying to not give them too much, too quick. She’s been getting more and more playing time.”
When things are clicking for Bauer at the point guard spot, it takes some of the pressure of star junior Belle Frazier, who then moves off the ball and can get the ball at different spots on the floor in Peninsula’s half-court offense.
“That’s been a huge aspect for us,” Frazier said. “I think that’ll definitely continue to help next year, too.”
Schick has challenged Bauer to continue to grow as a point guard — mostly vocally.
“What I keep telling her is trying to get us into an offense,” Schick said. “Try to be that leader, that stabilizing factor so Belle doesn’t have to every time. The more we can distribute the ball, the more beneficial it is for everyone. (Bauer’s) outside shot is coming along nicely. She’s got a well-rounded game.”
Bauer takes her cues from Frazier. In many ways, Frazier is a bit of a big sister to Bauer. The two eat lunch together at school, have a class together and are friends off the court. They both play for the same AAU program, also.
“She’s a big role model to me,” Bauer said. “Just with how she plays her game, talks to the girls, it’s fun to watch and be around. She’s always pushing people to work harder. When girls don’t want to work hard, she makes them want to.”
While Bauer continues to improve and mature, she’s aware of how far she’s already come a short time into her high school career.
“I’ve gained a lot of confidence,” Bauer said. “The coaches help a lot with that with their positive feedback. I just want to keep getting my teammates open looks and open shots.”