THRICE AS NICE: Orioles heading back to 4A state
AUGUSTA, Kansas – For the third consecutive season, the Augusta boys are headed to Salina for the Class 4A State Tournament.
Senior guard Brendan Parker led all scorers with 23 points and made five 3-pointers to lead the top-seeded Orioles over Andale 59-51 in Thursday’s Class 4A Sub-State championship at Hutter Gymnasium.
Orioles senior Ryan Andrews added 15 points and sophomore forward Kaden McDaniel added 12 in the win for Augusta (16-5), who overcame an early seven-point deficit in the first quarter and had one of its best shooting nights of the season – hitting 56 percent (20-of-36) from the field and draining nine 3-pointers in the victory.
“We were able to withstand that first quarter,” said Augusta head coach Ryan Petty. “When we got the lead there, we started to open things up. We haven’t really shot the ball well all year long. It’s been a conscious effort in practice the last month and I think it’s starting to pay off a little bit.”
Parker scored 11 of his 23 points in the third quarter, including consecutive 3-pointers to spark a key 8-0 run in the final 1:38 of the quarter. Parker broke the 34-all tie with a trey from the right wing, then added a corner 3-pointer. Xander Roberts capped the run with a baseline runner with six seconds left in the frame to put Augusta up 42-34 heading into the final quarter.
Augusta stretched its lead up to 11 with a Roberts corner 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter, but Andale failed to go away quietly. A 9-2 Indians run – which included three quick baskets in a 22-second span – had the visitors down 47-43 with 5:25 remaining in the contest.
Leading 50-45 with 3:50 left, Augusta elected to milk the clock with a stall tactic, which ran just over two minutes. Once Andale put the Orioles into the bonus, Parker made two free throws, then a fast-break dunk by McDaniel with 1:17 remaining sealed the victory.
Augusta’s early deficit nearly mirrored Tuesday’s semifinal against El Dorado, which saw the Orioles fall behind 20-8 in the opening quarter before pulling away for a 51-41 win.
On Thursday, a 10-3 run by Andale closed out the first quarter for a 17-10 lead. However, Augusta’s defense clamped down and held the Indians without a field goal for the opening 5:51 of the second quarter.
The Orioles took advantage with an 8-1 run as Parker began to heat up with two 3-pointers. A corner 3-pointer by Parker with 2:36 remaining in the half tied the contest at 18-all, but Andale answered back with a Zachary Winter trey. Andale kept the lead for the remainder of the half, taking a 26-25 advantage into the break.
“At halftime, we really emphasized playing better defense,” Parker said. “We’ve been in that position before, so it didn’t faze us. We picked it up on the defensive end and I think that led to the offensive end and getting some shots.”
Parker’s third trey of the night came just 30 seconds into the second half, giving the Orioles a 28-26 lead. Andale would tie the contest on three occasions in the third quarter, but Augusta never relinquished the lead.
Augusta shot 50 percent on 10-of-20 attempts in the first half, but the offense heated up more in the second half with a 63 percent clip (10-of-16). Andale finished with an even 50 percent (21-of-42) from the field. Junior guard Jacksyn Potucek led Andale (10-12) with 15 points, while junior guard Zachary Winter added 11 points in the loss.
With seven seniors on the squad, going out with a win in front of the home crowd was something to savior for the Orioles.
“It means everything, especially for me, Ryan and (center) Eli (Wilcox),” Parker said. “We’ve been playing together for close to 10 years, so It just means everything to get back to the state tournament.”
“We returned so many guys with experience,” Petty added. “A big game doesn’t faze them. They embrace it. They enjoy the big games. They’ve played in so many big-time games and they’re just winners.”
Augusta 59, Andale 51
Andale (9-12): Zachary Winter 4 0-0 11, Jacksyn Potucek 6 1-3 15, Nathan Nemechek 2 2-2 6, Wyatt Spexarth 3 0-0 6, Seth Reichenberger 4 0-0 8, Tegan Orth 1 0-0 2, Noah Bruce 0 0-0 0, Cody Parthemer 0 0-0 0, Matthew Seller 1 0-0 3, Beau Kerschen 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-42 (6) 3-5 51.
Augusta (16-5): Brendan Parker 8 2-2 21, Ryan Andrews 4 4-5 15, Xander Roberts 2 1-2 6, Kaden McDaniel 5 0-0 12, Ely Wilcox 0 0-0 0, Morgan Livingston 0 0-0 0, Kaden Kearney 0 0-0 0, Josh Burton 0 0-0 0, Sawyer Schmidt 0 0-0 0, Jeff Hand 1 1-2 3, Kaden Kelley 0 0-0 0, Zack Timberlake 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-36 (9) 10-13 59.