SALINA, Kan. - It's a storybook tale that, Augusta hopes, will have the perfect ending.
The last time the Orioles reached the spot they're in now was 17 years ago. Jake Sims, then a sophomore on the Orioles basketball team, was a part of the last championship the boys hoops team saw come to the school.
Fast forward to Friday night. Sims is coaching the very team he once hooped for, a game away from getting back to that spot following a 46-40 semifinal win over three seed Chapman.
Sims and the Orioles already ended one drought, making a trip to the state tournament for the first time since the coach's junior year back in 2003, and have since rattled off consecutive upsets, first second seed Andale and now the Fighting Irish.
Jaren Jackson lead all scorers with 17 points for the Orioles, 12 of those coming before halftime when the O's took a three point lead to the break, keeping that spread into the fourth in what was a back and forth contest.
But with the game tied at 36 with less than four minutes to go, Augusta broke a 5+ minute long scoreless drought by rattling off 5 straight points, enough to put the game out of reach for the Irish.
While he only scored five points for the game, Zach Davidson was a force on the defensive end. The 6'7" junior tallied 14 rebounds, 12 of those defensively, adding 3 blocks. And perhaps more importantly, he held Chapman star Izek Jackson in check. After a 6 point first, Jackson was held to just 2 points over the final three quarters of play--those coming on a breakaway dunk.
The 7 seed Orioles will look to make in three upsets in four days, facing KC-Piper in Saturday's championship game. The Pirates are fresh off a win coming off a near buzzer beater against top seed Wichita Trinity.