Roberts, Augusta use buzzer beater to tame T-Birds

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Augusta's Xander Roberts (20) takes a three-point attempt in the third quarter as Circle's Luke McGinnis charges in with the block attempt. Roberts would finish with 15 points on the night as Augusta won 47-46 on Thursday, Feb. 18 at Circle High School in Towanda, Kansas.

TOWANDA, KANSAS—There hasn’t been a lot of panic in the eyes of the Augusta boys’ basketball team this season because they’ve faced so many difference adversities. 

Without one of their leading scorers, they faced even more as they trailed rival Circle by two with 2.8 seconds remaining. 

Just leave it to Xander Roberts. 

“I missed the Clearwater one,” Roberts said. “It feels good to hit it tonight.”

Roberts drained a three-pointer with no time remaining to beat Circle 47-46 in a game that saw the Orioles blow a double-digit lead and fight off a furious comeback from the Thunderbirds.

“Our guys always remained calm,” Augusta head coach Ryan Petty said. “They’ve been in a lot of close games, so we’ve been there. “

There were there a month ago when Brendan Parker hit a three to beat Louisburg by a stickman. Tonight, it was the other senior’s turn. 

“I love the pressure,” Robert said. 

Roberts, the honorable all-state soccer selection and Friends University baseball commit knows what it’s like being in those situations. So, the pressure, while he may have loved it, may not have been as tough on him as it could be for others.

“That’s Xander,” Petty said. “He’s a gamer. He takes care of business for us.”

With Parker out for the foreseeable future with an injury, the Orioles needed others to step up and they did. 

“It’s tough to replace Brendan [Parker],” Petty said. “We knew we would be others and I thought they did a great job in that tonight.”

It wasn’t all roses for Augusta despite a 10-point halftime lead. First, he won Homecoming King, then he was draining threes in the second half for Circle, Drew Middleton led his team’s charge in the second half.

He hit two threes to bring Circle within 28-22. He would pour in 10 for the quarter as Circle made their push to get back into the game.

Brenden Galloway hit a three at the buzzer to pull Circle within two after three and then it was sophomore Ty Smith who gave the T-Birds their first lead of the game. 

“That’s a really tough team,” Petty said. “They’ve been in almost all of their games. We will probably see them again.”

Trevor Cowman hit two free throws with 34.5 seconds remaining to give Circle the 46-44 lead, setting up Roberts’ game winner. 

“They were confused on whether they were in zone or man,” Roberts said. “So, I came across and Randy [Ryan Andrews] found me.

“That was it.”

Roberts finished with 15 points, including four threes had one of his highest scoring out puts of the season.

Then win sets up a showdown Friday night inside Hutter Gymnasium for Augusta. A win sets up a League Championship Game against McPherson next week. A loss, and the Orioles will have to win and leave it to tiebreakers.

“We are going to enjoy this for the next hour,” Petty said. “Then, we have to get focused for Buhler.”

Buhler already beat Augusta on 70-57 on Jan. 8 when Augusta was outscored 21-2 in the second quarter. 

“We have to do a better job than we did lats time,” Roberts said. 

A win and they give themselves at the elusive championship.

“I want that for these guys,” Petty said. “Hopefully, we can put ourselves in a position to win it.”

Buhler and Augusta tip-off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.

4A #6 Augusta 47, Circle 46

Augusta—14;10;14;9—47

Circle—9;5;22;10—46

Augusta: Roberts 1 (4) 1-4 15, Wilcox 2 (0) 4-8 10, McDaniel 2 (1) 1-2 8, Schmidt 2 (0) 0-0 4, Burton 0 (1) 0-0 3, Andrews 1 (0) 1-1 3, Hand 1 (0) 0-0 2, Timberlake 1 (0) 0-0 2. TOTALS: 11 (6) 7-15 47.

Circle: Middleton 4 (2) 2-2 16, McGinnis 3 (1) 0-1 9, Galloway 2 (1) 0-0 7, Smith 3 (0) 0-1 6, Koehn 2 (0) 1-1 5, Cowman 0 (0) 3-4 3. TOTALS: 14 (4) 6-9 46.

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.