Augusta’s boys basketball team had a hard time slowing down a well-oiled Buhler machine Tuesday night.
The Orioles stayed close in the first quarter, but the Crusaders methodically took control of the game in the second quarter. They outscored the Orioles 22-10 in the quarter, and that lead held up the rest of the game in a 57-32 contest.
“Buhler’s a good basketball team, but we didn’t show up tonight,” coach Jake Sims said. “And I’ve been waiting for this game, I really have. We had 16 pretty good basketball games. I’ve kind of been waiting for this one, and I thought we cleared that hump. But hey, maybe we got it out of our way and maybe we’re just ready to move forward.”
Buhler’s 6-foot-7 Grant Owen and Augusta’s 6-foot-8 Jonny Clausing were set for a showdown in the paint. Owen got the Crusaders going early while Clausing barely missed a couple short shots.
Kenton Rocheford made a great hustle play by diving on the floor for a loose ball, then dishing while still on the court to Clay Wesbrooks for a 3-pointer near the end of the first quarter.
That play cut the Orioles’ deficit to two points.
That would be as close as they’d get the rest of the way.
Buhler scored the first two baskets of the second quarter, the second of which was a dunk off a steal. Tanner Lackey really took the Crusaders to the next level. He scored inside. He scored from beyond the arc. He even scored off steals. He keyed a huge 10-2 run and helped Buhler build a 33-19 lead at halftime.
Clausing was the main reason the Orioles even stayed within striking distance as long as they did. He started getting the better of Owen as he scored four straight baskets for the Orioles.
But Augusta’s offense went dry in the third quarter. Buhler held the Orioles to just two points in the quarter and hit back-to-back 3-pointers near the end of the quarter to push the lead to 45-21.
“We got a lot of decent looks, and obviously we rely on the 3 ball a little bit,” Sims said, “but when shots aren’t going, we’ve got find some other way to manufacture points. We were passive inside, we were passive around the perimeter. That’s not a good recipe against a team like Buhler. They’re going to come at you, they’re going to make shots. They’re good, but we’ve just got to be better.”
Sims got the Orioles to play hard and with a lot of pride to finish the game, but they were unable to make enough of a dent on the scoreboard.
Clausing finished with 12 points. Whitehead scored five, Wesbrooks, Rocheford and Zac Burton all scored four points apiece, and Blake Altenhofen added three points.
It’s a game the Orioles just as soon would like to forget. They’ll get their chance to do so Friday when they play at a tough Circle High School environment.