Butler County Times Gazette
  • Orioles miss final shots in close loss

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  • The Orioles had a couple chances slip through their fingers.
    Augusta's girls basketball team erased a 12-point second-half deficit and had a chance possibly to win Friday night's home-opening game against Abilene. Down one point with 15 seconds left, the Orioles missed a shot, scrapped for an offensive rebound and took another shot, but they couldn't get it to drop.
    Abilene later missed a free throw with 4.4 seconds left to seal the game, but the Cowgirls came away with an offensive rebound and made the final two free throws for a 32-29 win.
    There were a couple times when Abilene could've ran away with the game, but the Orioles buckled down on defense to get themselves back in it. Abilene started with an 8-0 lead in the opening minutes and scored 10 in the first quarter. But Augusta's defense stiffened.
    "I thought we were much more aggressive on the defensive end," coach Tracy Anderson said. "We hadn't really pressed like that...and we did a good job, and I think it kind of changed the course of the game for us."
    Kalie Robinson kept the Orioles afloat in the first half. She scored all seven of the team's second-quarter points, including a 3-pointer that ended a 7-0 Abilene spurt. The Cowgirls had seven second-chance points in the first half.
    "Our rebounding was not good," Anderson said. "I thought the rebounding was the difference."
    Later in the game, the Orioles picked up their intesity on the perimeter. Augusta forced 16 second-half turnovers.
    "Maddy Leedom came in and really gave us a spark," Anderson said. "...I thought some of our sophomores, Brooke Eberhardt, Hope [Travaille] and Abby [Tipton] came in the post position and solidified us."
    Kylie Wesbrooks hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to pull Augusta within six at 25-19. Eberhardt and Bailey Reichardt scored back-to-back jumpers to cut it to 27-24.
    Leedom made two steals off inbound passes that led to points in the fourth quarter, including her own free throw to cut Augusta's deficit to 30-27. Casady Marlnee scored to pull Augusta within one with about a minute to go, but that was as close as Augusta got.

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