Varsity Basketball

Augusta looks like contender, beating last season’s state runner-up in girls basketball

Augusta’s Jayden Marlnee shoots a free throw during the Orioles 49-37 home win against Andale, the No. 8 team in Class 4A, according to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association.
Augusta’s Jayden Marlnee shoots a free throw during the Orioles 49-37 home win against Andale, the No. 8 team in Class 4A, according to the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. The Wichita Eagle

The Orioles are one of the more dangerous two-loss girls basketball teams in Kansas.

Augusta has lost to two undefeated teams, Abilene and Circle, this season, but Tuesday the Orioles made a statement with a 49-37 home win over Andale. The Indians finished runners-up in Class 4A-Division II last season.

Augusta has beaten Andale each of their past three meetings. The Orioles are one of three teams in the Wichita area that can boast that stat, along with Circle and McPherson. It was the Orioles’ largest margin of victory over Andale in more than a decade.

“This was our third rannked team that we’ve played, so this was a huge win,” Augusta coach Rainey Maloy said. “Andale is traditionally a great team, so winning by a margin like this is great for us.”

The Orioles reached the state playoffs last season but were bounced in the first round. AVCTL III rival and eventual state champion McPherson handed Augusta a 62-48 loss. The Bullpups didn’t see a closer game until the title game against Bishop Miege.

The Orioles entered the state tournament with a 15-6 record after playing in one of the deepest girls basketball leagues in Kansas. They are looking to do better than that this season and certainly have the potential.

Augusta was ranked as high as fifth in the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association rankings but fell to 10th in the most recent release after the pair of losses. The Orioles entered Tuesday a likely home underdog against No. 8 Andale.

Senior Maddie Livingston scored a game-high 16 points against the Indians. She said they brought a different energy Tuesday.

“It’s good to finally get to a point where we can beat them year-after-year,” she said.

Augusta is behind the 8-ball after a home loss to Circle already. The Orioles will get the Thunderbirds again on the road Feb. 12, but before that, they will have to face McPherson, the team that bounced them from the state tournament last year, then on the road Feb. 19.

The road is daunting, but Livingston said Augusta has the group to make some noise this season, with six talented seniors on the roster.

“We have good leadership,” she said. “We’re mature. We’re better. We’re locked in on offense more than in previous years.”

Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.
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