The Orioles were about as opportunistic as they could be during Friday night's season-opening boys basketball game against Mulvane.
The Orioles were deflecting passes, creating fast-break opportunities and hitting open 3s most of the night. Tristan Finch had five of his seven assists in the first half. Connor Hurst buried back-to-back 3-pointers to jumpstart the Orioles' offense early in the second quarter. Augusta outscored Mulvane 28-14 in the second and never looked back on way to a 78-49 win at home to start the season 1-0.
"We started off scoring inside. And against their zone, we had some great looks. We missed a couple bunnies and little easy ones here and there, but we had great looks inside, which opened it up outside," coach David Stephenson said. "We have the capability of hitting those things."
The Orioles hit nine 3-pointers and finished with 19 assists and 13 steals as the defense only gave up eight points in each of the third and fourth quarters.
"It's what we worked on in practice, just active hands, pressure the ball and helpside defense," Finch said. "Get some steals and get out running."
Mulvane senior Kevin Fahring scored the first points of the second quarter on a putback to give the Wildcats their biggest lead of the game at 21-14. To that point, Mulvane had outrebounded Augusta 11-4 and scored twice on second-chance opportunities.
For the rest of the game, though, Augusta had an 18-16 edge on the boards and kept Mulvane away from easy putbacks nearly the rest of the game.
"As soon as we got defensive rebounding figured out in the second half, it was game on," Stephenson said.
Kyler Steinkamp hit a jumper, then found Dustyn McEachern for an open 3-pointer on the next play to give the Orioles a 34-28 late in the second. McEachern, who gave the Orioles valuable minutes off the bench after they got into some foul trouble, finished with three 3s and 11 points.
Steinkamp finished with a pair of 3s and made seven baskets in all to finish with 17 points. Hurst was 6-of-7 from the free throw line for the game and scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the first half. He had three 3s.
"Everybody can shoot from outside," Finch said. "Once we get in transition, we usually get things flowing. A couple were some easy shots, and we were able to make them."
In his first game after all of last season, senior Sean Brandenburg methodically eased his way into the game. He started by controlled the defensive reboudnds with help from Brandon Smith. In the third quarter, Brandenburg scored seven of his 11 points for the game. He scored on a nice lob pass from Steinkamp to give the Orioles a 54-37 lead as they started having some fun on the court.
"Sean was great. Once he got his legs back and got back into it and relaxed, he did some good things, mixed it up and rebounded."
The Orioles are off until next Friday when they travel to take on former Oriole Terry Taylor and a tough Abilene squad.
- Augusta's freshman boys team beat Mulvane 62-52. Raef Hilt led the Orioles with 17 points. Jayden Reynolds hit three baskets and finished with eight points. Daelen Shupe added six. Jake Becker, Kade Trebbe and Dallin Marlnee had five apiece, The JV boys lost by nine points after losing a big first-half lead.