The Jordan Brand Invitational made its way to New Orleans and stopped at St. Augustine's Watson Jones Gym on Friday night.
In the first game, St. Augustine outlasted Crescent City 51-45 as former Purple Knights guard and Pioneers coach Shaun Dumas returned to St. Aug. Dumas not only prepped at St. Augustine, but also played for current Purple Knights coach Mitchell Johnson during his tenure.
“A lot people don’t know that Shaun, not only played for me, but also is a close friend of the family,” Johnson said. “He and the Crescent City family stepped up for my family, and that means a lot to me.”
Johnson’s son, Cory, is also the starting guard for Crescent City.
In the second game, Oak Hill (Virginia) beat Scotlandville 81-67.
St. Augustine (24-5) roared into the fourth quarter with all the momentum and ahead 13 points. Senior forward Caleb Daniels received a back-door cut pass from Bryson Celestine and slammed it home.
Daniels turned it on in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Bryson Celestine added 10 points to help give the Purple Knights some breathing room.
With just over two minutes remaining, Devonta Harris’ 14- foot jump shot pulled Crescent City back within six points. A layup by Crescent City's Terrance Smith that cut the St. Aug lead to 48-45.
But Crescent City (29-5) could not get any closer. Cedric Jones layup in the waning seconds cemented the win for the Purple Knights. Jones added nine points, all of which came in the second half.
Despite the win, coach Johnson was not happy with his team’s performance.
“We were not ourselves out there tonight,” Johnson said. “If we are going accomplish what we want to do, we have to get some things corrected. We will start that now with our preparation for the next district game.”
Crescent City's Byron Joshua led all scorers with 21 points and was a thorn in the side of St. Aug all night. Joshua also recorded four steals and four rebounds.
After halftime Dumas was pleased with his team’s effort, saying, “We need to stay away from our settled shots. Far too many times we are just allowing them to dictate what we are doing.”
Crescent City was in jeopardy of losing control of the game, despite their first-half efforts. The Pioneers committed five turnovers to aide a suffocating St. Augustine defense.
Sai Fisher's back-to-back buckets ignited the Purple Knights and help them expand their lead to 38-23 in the first half.