St. Augustine and Rummel played three quarters with just a field goal separating them.
Then came the fateful fourth.
With guard Myles Samuel scoring seven of his game-high 19 points in the final eight minutes Friday night, the host Purple Knights used a brisk fourth-quarter effort to record a 64-54 District 9-5A victory over the Raiders at St. Augustine’s Watson Brown Memorial Gym.
A 5-foot-10 senior, Samuel hit four 3-pointers in his run to game-high scoring honors, including one in the fourth during a 12-3 run that extended St. Aug’s lead to double digits. The Knights never looked back.
“I think toward the end we buckled down and followed (coach Mitchell Johnson's) game plan," Samuel said. “We played good defense, and we sacrificed our individual agendas."
St. Augustine (18-3, 3-1) moves forward to a key Catholic League showdown against Brother Martin on Tuesday. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff at St. Aug. Rummel (12-10, 1-2), with three losses to out-of-state foes, next hosts Jesuit.
“At halftime I explained to the guys that it was a four-quarter game and you had to play four quarters," Johnson said. “I knew Rummel was going to adjust their game. And it was going to take us to buckle down on defense."
The Knights led by double figures twice in the first half, once to end the first period with a 20-10 advantage following Caleb Daniels’ three-point play. Samuel increased the advantage to 23-10 with a 3-pointer to open the second quarter.
The Raiders led only once, at 37-36 following a Shaheed Reese 3-pointer with 5:25 left in the third period. From there, the Knights resumed control, albeit a slight one, to lead 43-41 at the end of three periods.
Enter Samuel and his solid shooting.
“Coach said we dug ourselves a hole when we let them get within four of us and that we were going to have to do what it takes to win," he said.
“The goal always is to play good defense and rebound," Johnson said. “I was very, very, very impressed with Myles’ play. Myles was struggling shooting the 3-ball. But he has worked on it in practice, and I’m glad to see him shooting it well."
Daniels scored 13 points for St. Aug, which also got nine points from Sai Fisher and eight from Cedric Jones and Brandon Bode.
Guard Donte Mitchell scored 15 points to pace the Raiders, who also got 10 points from center Ashken Stamm and nine from guard Aaron Brule’.
The Knights out-rebounded the Raiders 29-26 but committed 13 turnovers to St. Augustine’s nine. Eight of those Rummel turnovers came in the second half.