Augusta's big fourth quarter propels Orioles
AUGUSTA—The Augusta Orioles are still finding their feeling in the new system and it’s shown.
The struggles they’ve experienced whether it be the real dominant lack of size since the departure of Zach Davidson to the experiencing the best defender night in and night out for Brendan Parker.
It’s been adjustment all around.
“We’re still learning,” Augusta head coach Ryan Petty said.
After Monday’s disappointing loss to Buhler, the Orioles found themselves with their back against the wall once again, trailing by eight heading into the fourth quarter against McPherson, it felt as if their season needed this fourth quarter.
When they needed it, the Orioles stepped up to the challenge and took it.
“I’m really proud of our guys tonight,” Petty said. “We outscored them, what? 22-9 in the fourth? That’s what we wanted.”
The two games felt so similar in how the Orioles fell off in the second quarter but It was the Orioles defense that stepped up.
“I told our guys, ‘I’m glad to be down only one touchdown and not two or three,’” Petty said.
Augusta only scoring six points in the quarter and only 13 in the half so Parker get more assertive and step up to the plate.
The senior did anything and everything he was asked of and it was a large reason why Augusta was able to claw back into the game.
“I told him [Parker] at half time he needed to be better,” Petty said. “He rose to the challenge and he was.”
After only scoring four points in the first half, Parker came out scoring the first four points of the second half for Augusta. He would have 10 in the frame alone.
With Parker’s scoring ability found, it gave momentum to his teammates as Kaden McDaniel found his aggressive side, too. He would get to the line and Ryan Andrews had a couple of buckets to keep Augusta within arm’s length.
“Ryan [Andrews] is just a winner,” Petty said. “That’s all he knows and he gives everything out there for us.”
However, it was Seth Madron who hit bucket-after-bucket to kill off any real run. When Augusta would get it to four, it was Madron who seemed to be in the right place, including his bucket to push the lead to 38-30 after three quarters.
That brings us back to the brink of the season. A team still discovering their identity half way through the season and on the edge of back-to-back losses where they were the ones to blame?
That’s when everyone stepped up.
Jett Hand and Parker traded 3s to open the fourth and it was Andrews’ who leapt into the air like he was a middle linebacker intercepting a pass to force the turnover. He found Parker on the outlet for the layup to tie the game.
It was a new ball game.
Xander Roberts decided to join in on the fun and he drained a three to put the Orioles up 43-41 with 5:11 remaining.
They would never trail again.
With the Orioles already in the double bonus, they went to work, getting aggressive and getting to the line.
Augusta shot 11 free throws in the final four minutes of the game, hitting seven of them.
What a difference eight minutes make.
From a potential .500 record heading and an annual trip to Baldwin’s tournament looming, this could have sent the Orioles down a bad road. Instead, they grabbed ahold of the moment and hopefully sent their season in the right direction.
It was a team effort, too.
Andrews drawing his first ever charge late in the fourth quarter when Madron tried to drive but Andrews slid over and drew the charge to many players like Josh Burton coming in and getting to the line.
The Orioles will now travel to El Dorado on Friday night for a showdown with the Wildcats before heading to the Baldwin tournament next week.
“We’re finding out who we are and what we are about,” Petty said. “We need to fix the second quarter bug but we’ll get there.”