ROSE HILL—Though it started looking grim for a few minutes, a determined Augusta girls basketball team was able to finish off Friday night's game in Rose Hill in a way it hadn't all season.
The Orioles got a win.
Augusta held off a mini-surge by the Rockets to win 40-35 and get its first victory of the season.
"Not going to lie, I was a little nervous there," said senior Madie Becker. "But we wanted it tonight. I'm just going to remember this feeling."
"It feels awesome, like a huge weight is off," senior Taylor Childers said. "It's definitely uplifting for us because we've had close games, we've had games we've been blown away. But we always fight through it, and this time we finished and we fought hard. And against one of our biggest rivals, it's the best feeling."
The win also was the first for head coach Tracy Anderson, who said the girls deserved the win after never giving up even during the losing streak.
"Just going into the locker room was amazing. To see their smiles, it was joy. That's what coaching is all about" Anderson said.
The Orioles were down 17-10 at halftime before they swung momentum in the game-defining third quarter. The Orioles gritted through with physical play and purposeful execution on the offensive end.
Augusta outscored the Rockets 18-7, outrebounded them 13-4 forced seven total turnovers (four steals) and had an 8-0 edge in second-chance points.
"That's the kind of ball we have to play. We have to get second-chance points, and I thought the key was that we didn't turnover the ball over that quarter," Anderson said.
Rose Hill fell behind by as many as eight before rallying. The Rockets gave the Orioles a scare when Autumn Lipscomb drained a 3-pointer to pull within three at 38-35 with 11 seconds left. But senior Kalie Robinson made two critical free throws to ice the game. And the win.
"It feels awesome. We can use this as motivation," Robinson said. "This can get us fired up again."
Casady Marlnee was a force for the Orioles. She was able to drive and hit a couple jumpers for her team-high 11 points. Freshman Maddy Leedom scored eight points. Becker added six, Childers had five, Robinson and Hope Travaille both had four, and Bailey Reichardt scored two.
"We were really strong everywhere on the floor and everyone contributed," Travaille said. "It wasn't just the guards or post, but everyone chipped in."