The No. 7 seed Augusta boys basketball team is moving on to the 4A state semifinals after knocking off the No. 2 seed Andale Indians by a score of 57-43 on Wednesday night in Salina.
Heading into Wednesday night’s first-round matchup, Andale had just two losses on the season. The Orioles were able to get revenge for a December home loss to the Indians. According to Augusta head coach Jake Sims, the Indians dominated the offensive glass in the first matchup, and the Orioles made rebounding a point of emphasis heading into the rematch.
“The firs time we gave up 17 offensive rebounds, and they shot 33 shots in the paint,” said Sims. “Controlling rebounding was huge. The first game we turned it over 13 times. Against Andale, you can’t turn it over a third of the time, because it’s such a limited-possession game.”
The Orioles shot 44% from beyond the arc and made big play after big play in crunch time.
“We have a saying in our program— Dudes are dudes,” said Sims.
“At times in basketball games, dudes got to be dudes. Our dudes stepped up tonight.”
Augusta sophomore Ryan Andrews knocked down two threes to give the Orioles some momentum in the first 60 seconds. The Orioles continued to stay hot and opened the game on a 12-3 run. Midway through the first quarter, the Orioles went cold from behind the three-point line, which allowed Andale to chip away at the lead.
The Indians cut the lead to two at the end of the quarter, thanks to a floater by Andale junior Easton Hunter in the closing seconds.
Andale started the second quarter with an 11-0 run to go up 23-14. Augusta senior Jaren Jackson ended the run with a three-pointer, and then picked up another basket after collecting an offensive rebound. At the half, the Indians led 25-19.
Augusta senior Zac Burton knocked down two threes early in the third quarter, to bring the Orioles back within one with just under six minutes left in the third. Burton’s second three was part of a 12-0 run by the Orioles that put the Orioles up 33-27. Jackson knocked down two more threes to end the quarter, and Augusta took a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter.
The Orioles’ dominance in the third quarter was the difference-maker as Augusta outscored Andale 21-4.
Both teams traded baskets in the fourth quarter, but Andale never really threatened the Orioles as Augusta continued to make plays to keep the game out of reach.
Augusta senior Blake Altenhofen also acknowledged that the Orioles’ rebounding was much better in the second matchup between the two teams.
“Our rebounding was a lot better, and our overall execution was a lot smoother,” said Altenhofen.
“We’ve got a lot better at getting out and hitting the open man in transition.”
Augusta was led by Zac Burton and Jaren Jackson with 15 a-piece. Ryan Andrews added 12 points.
Andale’s Easton Hunter finished with a game-high 19 points.
The Orioles forced 10 turnovers and held the Indians to a field goal percentage of 33%. Augusta made 20 field goals on 42 attempts to finish 48% from the floor.
The Orioles will face the No.3 seed Chapman in the semifinals on Friday.
Chapman advanced with a 62-38 win over Anderson County.
Chapman and Augusta had just one opponent in common this season. Both teams have played Abilene twice. Augusta was 2-0 against Abilene this year, while Chapman was 0-2. In December, the Irish lost to the Cowboys on the road by a score of 71-52. On February 19, the Irish lost at home to Abilene in a much closer game, by a score of 46-45.
The Orioles beat Abilene by 13 in the second game of the season, and then beat them by 23 on the road in the sub-state championship game, though it was a tight game until the fourth quarter.
Tip-off between the Orioles and the Irish is scheduled for Friday at 8:15 p.m. at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina.