ST. AUGUSTINE 63, BROTHER MARTIN 56
at St. Augustine, Tuesday (Jan. 14), Catholic League (District 9-5A)
Records: St. Augustine, 19-1 (3-0); Brother Martin, 19-3 (1-1)
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: 3 KEY MOMENTS
- St. Augustine put forth a gutsy performance overcoming a deficit that grew as large as 27-9 in the second quarter. The Purple Knights clawed their way back into the game scoring 16 of the first half’s last 19 points to get within 30-25 going into halftime. Their momentum continued in the third quarter as they started the period on a 13-2 run that included a dunk by Jaron Pierre with 5:47 left for a 33-32 lead, their first since the opening basket of the game.
- Brother Martin’s Brock Ranlett and T.J. Small finally put a stop to St. Aug’s 13-2 run to start the third quarter with an offensive put-back and a triple from beyond the arc. That cut the Purple Knights’ lead to 38-37 with 3:22 to go in the third and the Crusaders soon tied the score at 39 after a bucket by Davonn Moore. It was all St. Aug from that point forward, though, as they scored the game’s next six points and never trailed again extending their lead has high as 55-43 in the fourth quarter. Small sank a pair of free throws with with 1:40 remaining in the game to pull within 57-53, but the Purple Knights were able to keep Brother Martin at arm’s length to secure the win.
- Brother Martin couldn’t have scripted a better 9-minute, 6-second stretch to start the game. The Crusaders stormed out to a 27-9 lead fueled by the play of T.J. Small and Grant Delord, who combined for 22 of the 27 points with Delord scoring 12 of the 22.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jaron Pierre, St. Augustine
Pierre is really starting to come into his own and had another big performance Tuesday night. The 6-foot-3 senior guard dropped a game-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting including 4-of-9 from 3-point range and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. He also led the Purple Knights in rebounds with 11 and was the driving force behind St. Aug’s third-quarter comeback scoring 13 of his 27 in the first eight minutes after halftime.
- St. Augustine got the job done Tuesday night even without arguably the metro area’s top coach on the bench in Mitchell Johnson. Purple Knight Athletic Director Barrett Rey said Johnson missed the game due to some needed “family time.” Johnson did phone in after the win to have a word with the team, and was replaced on the bench by assistant Deion Taylor.
- Once again, St. Aug’s defense produced when needed holding Brother Martin to 21-of-57 (36.8%) from the floor overall. The Crusaders did, however, have some success from the 3-point line going 8-of-21 (38.1%) while making 6 of their 10 free throws. The Purple Knights finished 26-of-62 (41.9%) overall, 5-of-21 (23.8%) from 3 and 6-of-13 (46.2%) from the stripe.
- St. Augustine has now won 14 straight games dating back to November 29 against Madison Prep in a non-district meeting at St. Aug.
- Brother Martin’s five-game win streak was snapped with Tuesday’s loss. Their previous two losses of the season came to Gulfport (MS), 63-53, on November 30 and Wossman, 66-63, on December 28. The Crusaders have been largely dominant over the course of the season with 14 of their wins coming by at least 26 points. Their two largest victories were a 101-28 win over Morris Jeff Community and a 82-32 win over Livingston Collegiate Academy.
St. Augustine assistant coach Deion Taylor: “We were telling the guys not to put their head down (when we fell behind 27-9). We knew they were going to make a run and come out aggressive. We knew T.J. (Small) was going to come out aggressive and we knew they were going to make a push. We just had to come out and make a run of our own.
Something we try to focus on is second-chance points. We’re one of the bigger teams in the district and second-chance points is something that shouldn’t be a problem for us.”
Brother Martin coach Chris Biehl: “We just took our foot off the gas. The shot selection in the second quarter wasn’t very good, and with us, we’re a tempo team. I thought we let off the gas a little bit when we got the lead and just didn’t play well enough to win.
St. Aug’s won the district championship the last three, four or five years. If you want to win a district championship, this is the team to beat.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Brother Martin | 19 | 11 (30) | 11 (41) | 15 – 56
St. Augustine | 9 | 16 (25) | 22 (47) | 16 – 63
Brother Martin: Grant Delord, 20; T.J. Small, 19; Davonn Moore, 6; Brock Ranlett, 5; Corey Skillman, 3; John Louis, 3.
St. Augustine: Jaron Pierre, 27; D’Mari Wiltz, 14; Jaheim Walters, 7; Ashton Trufant, 5; Eric Williams, 4; Jason Malbrue, 4; Nasir DeGruy, 2.
Up Next: St. Aug and Brother Martin will both continue Catholic League play on the road this coming Friday. The Purple Knights will face Rummel at 7:15 while the Crusaders take on John Curtis at 7 p.m.