After letting a game they should have won slip away from them Tuesday at Rock Creek, the Abilene Cowboys were dominated by the number five-ranked Augusta Orioles 64-40 Friday night in Abilene to fall to 1-2 on the season.
Abilene got behind the eight ball, or maybe the three ball, early in the game as Augusta controlled the tip and 6-1 senior guard Jaren Jackson took an immediate three shot but was fouled by Abilene. After making two of the three free throws, Jackson proceeded to lead the Orioles to an 11-3 run to run away from the Cowboys in the first quarter.
Jackson scorched five threes in the opening period alone as Augusta ran out to a 31-7 lead.
“The Jackson kid was on fire tonight making shots,” Abilene head coach Terry Taylor said. “He is an all-state player from last year that led them to second place in the state tournament. There is a reason they were second place. He is just a quality young man, loves to play the game. Their kids play so well together. They break us down off the dribble and we go to help and they find the open guy. He was on fire in the first half, couldn’t miss.”
Jackson is the third individual in as many games that has controlled the opposing offense against the Cowboys. Jackson put up 23 points on the Cowboys after Rock Creek junior Dawson Zenger burned Abilene for 31 points on Tuesday. In the Cowboys’ opening win over Smoky Valley, 6-3 senior Cade Schneider pumped in a game high 18 points, all from behind the arc.
“That’s hard on our confidence when someone gets out and goes off like that,” Taylor said. “That has happened three games in a row now. We have to find somebody defensively that can shut down a player who is on fire. We’ve got to learn to guard better.”
Friday night the Abilene defense could not find Jackson throughout the opening period but were able to make adjustments on him so that he only scored three points during the rest of the contest. But, the damage was already done and so junior Ryan Andrews and senior Zach Davidson took over scoring duties for the Orioles while the Cowboys couldn’t buy a basket.
Even though the Cowboys outscored Augusta in the second period by two points to cut the lead to 40-18 at the break, the hard luck shooting for the Cowboys continued into the second half. Andrews popped in a pair of treys and Davidson had a couple of buckets under the rim and before you knew it, Augusta led by 30 points after the third quarter 56-26.
“Disappointed in our offense,” Taylor said. “We are not screening. We are not getting shots we need to get. When we do, we missed them tonight. Travis (Beetch) couldn’t find the rim tonight. We need for him to have 15 to 20 points a night to be successful and set the tone for the rest of the night. But he wasn’t the only one. It hit everybody.”
The Orioles had scoring from all but two players on their bench and had three in double figures with Jackson at 23, Davidson with 11 and Andres at 10.
“Augusta came in here really playing well,” Taylor said. “Their coach has them playing really well especially for this early in the season. They are definitely one of the better teams in 4A.”
The Cowboys shot 36 percent from the field and were led by sophomore Kaleb Becker with nine points. Junior Kaden Coup came off the bench to score seven for the Cowboys while Blaize McVan and Grant Heintz finished with six each.
The Cowboys must forget about this contest and not let this loss affect their confidence as they begin North Central Kansas League play Friday in Concordia. Abilene has an off day Tuesday and it might have come at a good time for the Cowboys.
“We’ve got to regroup,” Taylor said. “Here we are at 1-2. We didn’t think we would be 1-2, but we are and now we get Concordia next Friday to begin league play. We have four days for practice. We need to work on our confidence and hopefully go up to Concordia and get a win and feel good about ourselves over the break.”
Contact Ron Preston at email@example.com.
Augusta 31 9 16 8 – 64
Abilene 7 11 8 14 – 40
Augusta (2-0)– Parker 7, Andrews 10, Jackson 23, Burton 1, Roberts 3, Rocha 2, McDaniel 2, Wilcox 2, Livingston 3, Davidson 11. Totals: 13 (11) 5-9 64.
Abilene (1-2) – Coup 7, Stuber 4, McVan 6, J. West 2, Bryson 1, Beetch 4, Becker 9, Heintz 6, Anderson 1. Totals: 13 (4) 2-10 40.