LAFAYETTE — Brother Martin found itself down nine points at the start of the fourth quarter Monday in the finals of the Sunkist Shootout against fellow district foe St. Augustine.
The Crusaders battled back to within two points, but the Purple Knights pulled away late and captured the tournament championship with a 62-54 win.
“These kids worked so hard for me all weekend,” St. Aug coach Mitchell Johnson said. “They executed and won the tournament and it means a lot for them.”
With 1:53 to play, Brother Martin’s Venjie Wallis was at the free-throw line with a chance to tie, but couldn’t knock the shots down. St. Aug’s Jordan Sneed then put the Purple Knights up four with a drive to the basket.
On the next Crusaders possession, Wallis again went to the line down four, but missed them both. Shaquille Duncan then put St. Aug up six and after a steal, Charles Brown put them up nine.
When it seemed like the game was slipping away at the end of the fourth quarter, Johnson said he refocused his team and said he told them to close the game strong.
“The focus point has to be to play four quarters,” Johnson said. “We just have to take care of the ball and play a complete game. When we do that, I like our opportunities.”
Brown led the Purple Knights with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Devante Jones added 18 and eight. Brown was named the Sunkist Shootout Mr. Basketball.
Brother Martin’s Trey Swilling hit a big 3-pointer to get within six with 20 seconds to play and after a steal, Wallis drove to the basket with a chance to get it to four. Brown got a big block on defense and went down to the other end, knocking down two big free throws to close the game out.
“I think sky is the limit for this team,” Johnson said. “It will all depend on how much time they want to commit on getting better. Every game brings new challenges for us and as long as we continue to defend and rebound, we’ll be pretty good.”