De’Jon Jarreau got an early birthday present.
And to the McDonogh 35 standout guard, that might be enough to celebrate when his 18th birthday rolls around Saturday.
Jarreau nearly notched a triple-double as his Roneagles soared past St. Augustine for a 72-41 victory in nondistrict play Friday evening in the school’s new gym in Treme.
In what is one of the area’s top rivalries, close games are expected.
Friday night’s game proved to be the exception and surprised even the victors.
“I thought it was going to be a close game,” said Jarreau, who led McDonogh 35 with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“We just executed every play. We made our shots, played our defense and we played as a team. I thought it would be a close game, but it ended up being a blowout.”
“No way was I expecting a double-digit victory,” added McDonogh 35 coach Kevin “Woo” Sanders. “I don’t ever expect that. I’m kind of superstitious. Sometimes, I wonder if we’re even going to score. But we played our best. I told them if we play our best and they play their best, then we should come out on top.”
They did, and did so handily.
Despite three ties in the opening quarter, McDonogh 35 began to distance itself early.
Sparked by balanced storing, the Roneagles (14-6) embarked on a 16-0 run spanning from the first to second quarter to take 33-18 advantage into halftime.
McDonogh 35 didn’t wait long to put the finishing touches on the game either.
In the third quarter, the Roneagles used an 18-7 run to extend their convincing lead to 27, with Jarreau registering a dunk to ignite the home crowd.
McDonogh 35 scored 26 points in the third quarter, including the dunks from Jarreau and Joseph Foucha, to remain unbeaten in the school’s newly constructed gym.
“That run was a lot of fun,” Jarreau said. “Being at home with our crowd, they were already rowdy. St. Aug — it’s a rivalry game. We also lost to them on Thanksgiving, and we wanted to get our revenge and win at home. To make that run and get those dunks in the third quarter, pumped us up some more.”
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for McDonogh 35, which had lost nondistrict games against Madison Prep and John Curtis.
Jarreau was helped by his surrounding cast, too. Foucha scored 12 points; Nakeem Martin finished with nine points and 10 rebounds; and Cardiz Humble added 14 points.
Equally as important as the Roneagles’ balanced offense was their defense on St. Augustine’s standout duo of Devante Jones and Caleb Daniels.
Jones finished with 11 points.Daniels was held to seven points and 11 rebounds. Both played sparingly in the last quarter.
“Athletically, we match up well with DJ (Jones) and Caleb,” Sanders said. “We were able to do a good job of focusing in on them and make someone else do it instead of letting them get off.”