ST. AUGUSTINE 77, BROTHER MARTIN 68
At Brother Martin, Friday (Feb. 7), Catholic League (District 9-5A)
Records: St. Augustine, 26-1 (9-0); Brother Martin, 24-5 (5-3)
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: 3 KEY MOMENTS
- Friday’s Catholic League showdown between St. Augustine and Brother Martin began much like the last meeting between the two on January 14. The Crusaders took a double-digit lead early, but it didn’t last long thanks to a dominant second quarter by the Purple Knights. They outscored Brother Martin, 24-9, in the period to turn a 20-14 deficit at the end of the first quarter to a 38-29 lead by halftime. St. Aug went on an 11-0 run at one point during the quarter that gave them a 27-25 lead with (. ) left following a pair of free throws from D’Mari Wiltz. Brother Martin’s Isaiah Torregano stopped the run with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but St. Aug went on to score 11 of the quarter’s last 12 points.
- The Purple Knights essentially put the game away in the third quarter pushing their lead as high as 56-35 with (. ) left after Jaron Pierre’s fifth and final triple of the game. Just like in the second period, St. Aug put together a sizable run scoring 13 of the first 15 points of the third.
- Brother Martin didn’t roll over in the fourth quarter working to chip away the lead down to 11 on multiple occasions, but the Purple Knights just wouldn’t allow them to get any closer until a late basket by Tijh Bell. The Crusaders were hoping to force some turnovers with a full court trap, but St. Aug was able to handle the pressure more times than not. Senior Jaden Clark was usually the finisher for the Purple Knights after breaking the press scoring eight points in the last eight minutes.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jaron Pierre, St. Augustine
Pierre is on the verge of solidifying himself as a bonafide Division I prospect. The long 6-foot-3 senior sharpshooter was dominant once again pouring in 27 points on an efficient 7-of-12 from the field including 5-of-10 from long range and 8-of-10 at the free throw line. He also had six rebounds and four assists, all of which came in the fourth quarter as St. Aug kept their foot on the gas to leave no doubt about the outcome. Pierre seems to be growing in confidence with each passing game, and he’s shown up big in just about every big game the Purple Knights have played in district play.
- Senior point guard D’Mari Wiltz was once again a key piece for the Purple Knights as the team’s primary ball handler. His numbers weren’t especially gaudy scoring 10 points with five rebounds and four assists, but he’s the leader of the group bringing a certain swagger and confidence to the team. Senior Jaden Clark also had one of his better games of the season for St. Aug scoring 18 points with six rebounds and a pair of assists.
- St. Aug’s winning streak now stands at 21 games after Friday night’s win. The streak dates back to a 71-17 victory over Lusher on December 4 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl CYO Tournament. The Purple Knights’ only defeat this season was against Madison Prep, 39-38, on November 29 in a non-district game.
- St. Augustine head coach Mitchell Johnson is still out due to “personal reasons,” according to Athletic Director Barrett Rey. Johnson has been out since at least the Purple Knights’ 63-56 win over Brother Martin on January 14. There has been no indication when he will return.
- St. Aug is now in complete control of the Catholic League after sweeping both the second and third-place teams in Holy Cross and Brother Martin. The Purple Knights have three games remaining in 9-5A hosting Rummel on Feb. 11, traveling to John Curtis on Feb. 18 and hosting Jesuit on Feb. 21. Those will also be their last three games of the regular season.
- Catholic League Standings: 1) St. Augustine, 26-1 (9-0); 2) Holy Cross, 10-10 (6-3); 3) Brother Martin, 24-5 (5-3); 4) Shaw, 18-10 (4-5); 5) Rummel, 14-11 (2-6); 6) Jesuit, 12-12 (2-6); 7) John Curtis, 8-16 (2-7).
- St. Aug was No. 2 in the latest LHSAA Division I power rankings released on Tuesday (Feb. 4) while Brother Martin was No. 4. Scotlandville remains the top team in Division I.
- Brother Martin’s T.J. Small signed with Army on Wednesday’s National Signing Day. He finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and two steals in Friday’s defeat.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
St. Augustine | 14 | 24 (38) | 18 (56) | 21 – 77
Brother Martin | 20 | 9 (29) | 10 (39) | 29 – 68
St. Augustine: Jaron Pierre, 27; Jaden Clark, 18; D’Mari Wiltz, 10; Jason Malbrue, 9; Nasir DeGruy, 6; Ashton Trufant, 5; Jaheim Walters, 2.
Brother Martin: T.J. Small, 26; Grant DeLord, 14; Davonn Moore, 9; Isaiah Torregano, 7; Corey Skillman, 4; John Louis, 4; Brock Ranlett, 2; Tijh Bell, 2.
Up Next: Both St. Augustine and Brother Martin continue Catholic League play Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Purple Knights will host Rummel while the Crusaders travel to John Curtis.