AUGUSTA, KANSAS — All it took was one critical call down the stretch, and it became deciding factor on Tuesday night when Augusta High School boys basketball team took down McPherson High School, 43-41 in its final home game, improving to 15-4 on the season, while the Bullpups ended their regular season with their first AVCTL Division III loss and a 13-7 record overall.


The game went back and forth with two of leagues' top teams putting their bodies on the line before the start of sub-state. The game was at 13 in the first quarter. The highest lead of the game was five. Augusta had a second quarter which resulted to a 23-20 lead at halftime.


"That's what it came down to," Augusta's Head Coach Jake Sims said after the game. "They go on a 5-0 run and then we counter back with a run and make some big plays. We just made the last play and it's how it really turned out."


McPherson outscored the Orioles 10-4 in the third quarter had the edge in at 30-27 going into the fourth.


Here comes the controversy. McPherson was up 40-39 with 57.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. After a McPherson time out, the Bullpups were set to make an inbound the pass, an offensive foul was called on Seth Madron. While both Madron and Jaren Jackson were both tugging on each other, Mardron was called for the foul. With four team fouls, Jackson was at the line, where he made both of his baskets.


It was argued that that play should have been called player-control infraction, which would avoid giving the Orioles free throws and have them make an inbound pass, but the called stood. The free throws by Jackson put Augusta ahead 41-40.


Later on Cody Stufflebean tied the game at 41, when he was fouled and made one of his two free throw attempts.


Then, with nine seconds left, Brendan Parker was at the line where he made both his free throws. Madron was off to the races and shot for an unbalanced jumper for the tie and missed, clinching the Orioles their first win over McPherson in program history. Previously, Augusta was 0-14 against the Bullpups


"At the stage of the year, you just win," Sims said. "It doesn't matter if you win by one, doesn't matter you by two, you just win however. It was not the ending that you'll like in a game like that but credit to our guys for making plays and credit to ours for stepping up and making four big free throws right down the stretch, and staying gritty and getting the win.


Jackson was Augusta's top scorer with 10 points, while Parker picked up nine points. Both Ely Wilcox and Zach Davidson tied for seven, and Ryan Andrews and Xander Roberts tied for five.


Stufflebean led McPherson with 13 points. Cooper Courtney followed with eight points. Hayes Schmid and Madron tied for six, and Jayton Alexnder and Sam Pyle finished with four each,


While McPherson awaits on which team will it face in the Class 5A Sub-State tournament, Augusta has one more game left on Thursday when it travels to Winfield High School.


McPherson -- 13; 7; 10; 11 -- 41


Augusta -- 13; 10; 4; 14 -- 43


McPherson: Stufflebean 13 pts. Courtney 8 pts., Schmid 6 pts., Madron 6 pts., Alexander 4 pts., S.Pyle 4 pts.


Augusta: Jackson 10 pts., Parker 9 pts., Wilcox 7 pts., Davidson 7 pts., Andrews 5 pts., Roberts 5 pts.,