The Orioles couldn’t have clicked any better.
Augusta’s girls basketball team was making sweet dishes every which way for impressive entry passes in the opening minutes of its home game against Buhler Tuesday night. The defense was smothering, too, as the Orioles rolled to an impressive 16-0 start. The Orioles stayed in control the rest of the way to put together a 46-35 win on Pinkout Night.
The winning streak continues for the Orioles, who are winners of seven straight and now are 10-7 on the season with three games left to play.
“We were just good on both ends of the floor,” coach Tracy Anderson said of the Orioles’ start. “I thought that was the best offensive stretch we’ve had. We had great passing on the interior, and we executed flawlessly.”
Abbee Rhodes scored the first basket of the game on a second-chance opportunity. After that, the Orioles’ guards made nice passes within the rhythm of the offense to get their post players easy looks, a task with which the Orioles have had their ups and downs. But Taylor Hinnenkamp and Madison Wheeler made tough passes look easy as they fed the ball to Rhodes, who scored the game’s first three field goals for a 6-0 lead.
Jayden Marlnee then scored four straight points, two at the line and two on a nice pass from Madison Livingston. Livingston had several assists throughout the game and played well on both ends on the floor. Whether it’s passing to an open teammate or playing hard on defense, she think her teammates are ready to play their roles.
“I feel pretty confident about our team,” Livingston said. “I feel like we’re going harder in practice and just executing plays more often.”
Kylie McDaniel then hit back-to-back 3-pointers against Buhler’s zone defense off passes from Natalie Rockers and Raegen Davis to give Augusta a 16-0 lead.
On the other end, the Crusaders turned it over nine times, some of which were forced, but a couple of which were silly miscommunications passes that ended out of bounds.
It was a good thing Augusta got off to such a hot start, because the Crusaders increased their physicality and intensity by several notches the rest of the game. They gave Augusta’s offense fits for a few stretches. Buhler closed the first quarter on an 8-2 run to cut it to 10.
In the second quarter, Rhodes scored a basket and Marlnee followed by converting a three-point play to give the Orioles a 23-8 lead. Both teams played evenly the rest of the half as Augusta led 30-17.
In the third quarter, though, the Crusaders forced a whopping 10 Oriole turnovers and held them to just three points in the quarter. Buhler cut it to 33-25 after three.
The Orioles welcomed Marlnee back onto the floor after she missed most of the third with foul trouble. Marlnee scored on two straight possessions to push their lead to 37-27.
Buhler cut it to 37-32, but Livingston made a key basket on a pass from Rhodes, then Rhodes followed that with a basket of her own to stretch the lead back. Augusta maintained control the rest of the way.
“We hung in there, and we got stops when we needed to and we got buckets when we needed them
Marlnee and Rhodes finished with 16 points apiece as Buhler was no match for them inside. Livingston added eight points and McDaniel finished with six for the Orioles.
Augusta plays a tough road contest against a hot Circle team. The team is hoping its seven-game winning streak can give it an extra boost against tougher competition.
“We’re feeling the rush, especially with these big games coming up,” Livingston said. “We really want to come back against Circle and put up a good game against McPherson.”