The Augusta boys basketball team will play for a 4A state championship for the first time since 2002, when their head coach, Jake Sims, was a junior at Augusta High School. The Orioles defeated the No. 3- seeded Chapman Irish in the state semifinals by a score of 46-40 on Friday night in Salina.
Both teams appeared evenly-matched for the majority of the game as neither team was able to pull away. With 1:10 left in the game Augusta led 41-40, and the Orioles were able to knock down enough free throws in the final minute to pull out the victory.
After one quarter, both teams were tied at 13. Augusta junior Jaren Jackson scored the final seven points of the first half to give Augusta a 28-25 halftime lead.
The Orioles opened the second half with a 8-3 run to take a 36-28 lead. Chapman answered with a run of their own to tie the game at 36 before Augusta was finally able to pull away in the final minutes.
Jaren Jackson scored a game-high 17 points. Blake Altenhofen added 7 points, while Zac Burton and Ely Wilcox scored 6 each. Zac Davidson was dominant on the glass, pulling in 14 of the Orioles’ 29 rebounds. The Orioles were able to hold Chapman’s Izek Jackson to just 8 points after scoring 28 points In Chapman’s quarterfinal win over Anderson County.
Despite coming into the tournament as the No. 7 seed, Augusta doesn’t feel like an underdog.
“This is by far the most confident we’ve ever been in my four years,” said senior Blake Altenhofen.
The Orioles will play Piper in the state championship on Saturday at 6:15. The Augusta boys basketball program has won two state titles, the most recent in 2002, while Piper is playing in it’s first state championship game in school history.
Piper is the No. 4 seed and has a record of 20-4. The Pirates defeated No. 1 seed Wichita Trinity by a score of 57-54 in the semifinals.