After qualifying for the state tournament for the second time in program history, Augusta faced AVCTL-III rival McPherson in the first round on Wednesday night in Salina. Augusta battled hard, but eventually fell by a score of 62-46.
Earlier in the season, McPherson dominated the Orioles for a 30-point win.
Wednesday night, the Orioles looked like a completely different team than the one that lost to McPherson back in early January.
Augusta suffered through a rough first quarter as McPherson caught fire and knocked down five threes to grab a 22-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Augusta junior Maddie Livingston brought the Orioles back to life in the second quarter. Livingston scored ten straight points to cut the McPherson lead to four. McPherson was finally able to find some offense again late in the second quarter as they went up 31-24 before halftime.
Early in the second half, Augusta was able to cut the McPherson lead to four once again, thanks to an old-fashioned three-point play by Jayden Marlnee. McPherson’s ability to knock down the deep ball eventually helped the Bullpups regain a double-digit lead to end the third quarter.
Abbee Rhodes scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to bring McPherson’s lead back to single digits. McPherson quickly responded and regained a double-digit lead which they would hold onto until the final buzzer sounded.
Maddie Livingston had one of the best performances of her career, finishing with a double-double. Livingston scored 18 points, and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Orioles.
Jayden Marlnee added 13, and Abbee Rhodes finished with 12 for the Orioles.
“They are only the second team in Augusta history to make it to state and we represented our school well,” said Augusta head coach Tracy Anderson.
“I believe McPherson is the best team in the state and we competed and fought even when they made their runs. We trusted each other and played our best ball the last three weeks. Our senior leadership was fantastic and hopefully this is one of many more trips here.
Maddie Livingston was awesome offensively and Jayden (Marlnee) made (Taylor) Robertson work so hard for everything. She couldn't have been defended any better. All our kids did their jobs well.”