St. Augustine handed St. Paul’s its first loss of the season Thursday night with a 61-51 victory in the CYO Basketball Classic winner’s bracket game.
With the win, the Purple Knights (5-1) advance to take on the winner of the East St. John-St. Thomas Aquinas matchup in the semifinals at Brother Martin on Friday.
Kelvin Jackson Jr. led the Purple Knights with 17 points and Charles Brown II had 13 points. Devante Jones also had 13 points in the victory.
Christophe Robertson had 16 points for St. Paul’s (5-1). Harrison Prieto had 13 points and freshman Parker Edwards had 11 in defeat.
Neither team held larger than a three-point lead for the majority of the first half. Tied 23-23 with 3:19 to go in the first half, St. Augustine went on a 7-0 run to take a 30-23 lead with 51.3 seconds left on a basket by Jones. The defensive effort paced the St. Augustine run as they held St. Paul’s to only one basket the final 3:19 of the first half.
The Wolves came back to tie the game in the final minute of the third quarter, but back-to-back baskets by Jones ignited a 10-0 run for the Purple Knights to push the lead to 47-37 with 6:41 to go in the game.
“The difference in the game was the run,” Jackson said. “Give St. Paul’s a tremendous amount of credit. They are a good team, and this was a tough game throughout. Two evenly matched teams and we fortunately found a way to just keep pushing and get the job done tonight.”
Extending the lead to as much as 53-40, St. Paul’s was held without a field goal until under the five minute mark of the game. St. Augustine’s lead was double-digits until the final minute of the game.
“We believe this is a quality win for us,” Jackson said. “The coaching staff was preaching all pre-game that this is the type of win that will make us a better team come district time and more importantly come playoff time. We learned a lot about ourselves tonight.”
St. Augustine coach Mitch Johnson was proud of his team’s performance.
“Our biggest concern was trying to contain St. Paul’s shooters and I thought we were able to do that quite well tonight,” he said. “They do a great job with their penetrating and kicking out offensively. Our defense really paced us to the win tonight.
“It was a big win for us, especially winning three games in basically four days. Our guys did a great job just sticking to the game plan.”