For The Tribune
Since the fifth grade, Piper Acton has spent a lot of time in gymnasiums around the state playing basketball.
While she has competed in multiple sports, Acton said basketball is easily her favorite.
“I just started playing and I really liked it,” the Trinity Lutheran senior said.
Acton saivd she played travel basketball all throughout high school on top of playing for the Cougars.
She said her AAU teammates were from Brownstown, Providence, New Albany, Pekin and Castle high schools.
Acton said that experience helped her development as a player.
“The competition in that is more like a college level because most of those girls, so you’re playing against harder competition so that makes you a better (high school) player,” Acton said.
Acton started playing basketball in fifth grade at Lutheran Central and has been a four-year starter at Trinity.
Acton, who writes left-handed but plays basketball right-handed, said when the Cougars are on offense she likes to set up on a wing.
She said the only time she shoots with different hands is on layups.
The senior feels comfortable shooting an outside shot and in recent games she made four 3-pointers at Southwestern and made three against Edinburgh.
Acton scored a career-high 20 points against Edinburgh, and her previous high was 17 at Southwestern.
“We have two good ‘bigs’ this year, so (defenses) double down on them, so our outside game needs to be as strong as our inside game,” Acton said.
Acton said she prefers to play against man defense but added, “it depends on the team. I think it’s easier to get an outside shot against a zone because they’re more in, but you just have to work with what they give you.”
Over the years, the Cougars haven’t shied away from playing an up-tempo game.
“It doesn’t matter who takes it up because me, Savannah (Harwager) and Jodi (Goecker) all handle the ball,” Acton said. “Jodi’s our set point guard.”
Through their first eight games, the Cougars averaged 56 points and give up 35. They have scored 65 or more three times and have only given up 50 or more (51) in one game.
Acton said she prefers to play man defense but, again, it depends on the team.”
She said the Cougars have used a full-court press lot this year because of the length inside.
Acton enjoys playing in front of the home fans.
“I like home games a lot better than the away games,” she said. “The environment is just better, and everyone likes their home court. It’s easier to play on.
“We’ve had sectionals at Orleans and West Washington. I do like the pit gyms. Our sectional will be at Edinburgh (another pit gym).”
Acton said she feels like the Cougars play a competitive schedule, and she looks forward to playing in the Toby Yoho Tournament at Eastern (Greene) at the end of this month.
“It’s a really good experience for the team because its bigger schools,” Acton said. “It’s harder competition and it prepares us for the rest of our season. It keeps us playing during the (holiday) break.”
Trinity won seven of its first eight games.
“We’re playing a lot more team basketball, together, and things are finally coming into place, and you can definitely tell that from last year’s games to this year’s games,” Acton said.
“Everyone is involved, it’s not just one or two people. In (the Southwestern and Edinburgh) games we’ve had four people in double-digit scoring, so the ball is getting moved, and people are taking their shots and our offense is just executing very well. We’re playing a lot more inside-out.”
Acton credits the Coguars’ practices for improvements during games.
“Practice is very important,” Acton said. “The focus you have to have is going to determine how you play in games. In practice you need to have the same focus you’re going to have in a game. They say you practice like you play.”
She said a couple of reasons she chose to come to Trinity was because her older sister, Laney, was a student there and she liked the smaller environment.
Name: Piper Acton
School: Trinity Lutheran
Parents: Melissa Acton, Shawn Acton, Jeff Collins (stepdad)
Siblings: Laney Acton, Jack Thomas Collins
Sports: Basketball, four years; volleyball, one year; soccer, one year
Organizations: National Honor Society, events team, student ambassadors.
Plans after high school: Attend college and major in mass communications.
Favorite food: Mashed potatoes
Favorite TV show: “Hawaii 5-0”
Favorite singer: Taylor Swift
Favorite movie: “Soul Surfer”
Favorite team: Purdue