Alexander, Buhler spoils Augusta's homecoming
AUGUSTA, KANSAS—The Orioles had a chance to set up a title bout with McPherson on Tuesday if they were able to slow down the No. 2 team in the state on Friday night.
Max Alexander had other ideas for Augusta.
The senior scored 31 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter as Buhler kept their AVCTL-III title hopes alive with the 56-46 win over sixth-ranked Augusta.
“I vividly remember the score being 40-40,” Augusta Head Coach Ryan Petty said. “Then, Max [Alexander] scored six in a row.
Alexander had to earn every one of his points but his ability to drive and get to the nail, the area where the free throw line and the lane connect, and his spot was the down fall of the Orioles. After only scoring two points in the third, he would throw in bucket after bucket.
“He’s a really good player,” Petty said. “There’s a direct correlation with us coming back to him scoring 12 in the fourth quarter. However he goes, they go.”
Augusta found themselves trailing at halftime by nine and Alexander had 17 as Buhler was rolling.
The Orioles wouldn’t go quietly into the cold, dark night. They came out and scored the first nine in the second half to tie the game with 4:40 remaining. Augusta had forced more turnovers in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third, as they did the entire first half.
Augusta would take their first lead on a Xander Roberts three-pointer with 3:14 remaining and it appeared the tide was turning in Augusta’s favor. However, Buhler would go on a 9-3 lead that spanned almost four minutes.
Ely Wilcox scored on an old fashioned three-point play with 6:49 remaining to tie it at 40-all.
Then, Alexander went to work. He came off a screen, hitting a jumper at the nail to go up by two. After a missed three, he came off another screen, on the other side to push the lead back up to four.
Augusta would never get closer than three the rest of the way.
Brendan Parker finished with 15 points to lead Augusta in scoring. He returned after missing last night’s game with an injury. He scored 10 of his 15 in the first half. Ryan Andrews had 14 for Augusta as well.
“Randy [Ryan Andrews] guarded as well as he could tonight,” Petty said. “He’s a special player and when this is over, we are really going to miss him.”
The Orioles will now turn their attention to McPherson with the AVCTL-III title on the line. An Augusta win would would have the tiebreaker as a three-way tie and each school would share the title.
“That’s going to be a tough one,” Petty said. “I’m told no one has gone into [McPherson] from this league and won in a long time.”
Buhler 56, Augusta 46