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Augusta conquers Spartans in overtime win

Published Feb. 21 at 11:19 p.m. | Last updated Feb. 21 at 11:20 p.m.

Augusta doesn’t have that one player it can call “the man.” You know, the go-to player who can always be counted on as one of the top scorers every game, likely the one making the big shots in a close game.

What Augusta does have is multiple players who could be the man at any time.

Friday night at Collegiate, it was junior Connor Hurst’s turn.

He finished with a game-high 22 points, scoring all eight Augusta points in overtime as the Orioles beat Collegiate 62-59 to improve to 13-5.

“We have four seniors and Connor, and on any given night, any of us can step up and lead the team,” said Augusta senior Sean Brandenburg, who had 14 points, hitting four three-pointers. “It was Connor tonight. He had all eight points in overtime. I can’t stress that enough. It was huge.”

Hurst made 4 of 4 baskets in the second quarter, hit seven straight free throws, including four in the overtime period.

“He handled the pressure well,” Augusta coach David Stephenson said. “He got some easy looks getting by people. We made some good passes to him.

“We have a versatile team, scoring wise. He hasn’t been the leading scorer the past two, three games, but he stepped up big tonight.”

Hurst has led the Orioles in scoring seven times and his 22 points tied a season-high.

Collegiate (12-6) led by as many as six twice in the first half, but lost the lead when Brandenburg hit a three to cap a 7-0 run for the 31-29 lead with 4:59 to go in the third.

“I’ve struggled from inside,” said Brandenburg, who is not a natural post. “I’ve always had the outside game, so I relied on it tonight. It came through for me.”

Augusta stretched its lead to 50-44 with a 7-0 run, sparked by another Brandenburg three and a basket by Brandon Smith, who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.

But in the final 39 seconds, Collegiate’s Kendall Reed hit consecutive three-pointers, tying the score with 27 seconds remaining.

“At the end of games, big moments, players make plays,” Collegiate coach Mitch Fiegel said. “I think Augusta tonight made the big plays at very crucial times. For whatever reason, we’re not quite ready to do that.

“I say that, and Kendall Reed hit big shots to get us back in the moment. We need more of that.”

While Augusta had two shots fail in the final seconds of regulation, Hurst opened overtime by scoring inside. He added two more free throws.

And after Collegiate got within one twice on baskets by Brodey Dick, Hurst drove inside and, with 12.7 seconds to go, hit two free throws for the three-point lead.

“I had to focus on those,” Hurst said. “That was pretty nerve-wracking, too. Especially when (Fiegel) called that second timeout. Coach tried to make a joke in the huddle, tried to loose me up. It worked. I focused, had my follow through.”

Collegiate still had a chance, though.

With Brandenburg at the free-throw line for what could have put the game out of reach, Augusta committed a lane violation.

Collegiate had just more than two seconds remaining and the Spartans found Jack Larsen on the right wing. Larsen had hit a deep three, from beyond NBA range, in the fourth quarter.

He threw up the shot and it bounced around inside the rim and bounced out.

“It felt really good to come here and get a win tonight,” Hurst said. “Mostly we fought through adversity. Our offense was kind of sloppy. We had a lot of turnovers. The team fighting through it, that’s really what made up for it.”

Augusta11131515 862
Collegiate1781415 559

Augusta: Smith 18, Steinkamp 1, Brandenburg 14, Hurst 22, Finch 2, McEachern 5.

Collegiate: Larsen 7, Root 4, Christian 4, Adams 6, Moxley 3, Waddell 11, Dick 8, Reed 12, Chugg 2, Gaphardt 2.

Augusta's Connor Hurst, 22 points, all 8 OT points

Augusta's Sean Brandenburg, 14 points, 4 threes.

Collegiate's Jack Larsen shoots a 3 to tie in OT, it rims out.

Augusta coach David Stephenson

Augusta's fans