Brother Martin appeared to have an edge with Bruce Jordan-Swilling and Irving Smith posting near the basket as its game against Rummel unfolded Friday night at Rummel.
However, when the Crusaders got their fast break going, they really took control.
Between the two options, Brother Martin ran past Rummel 70-53 in a District 9-5A game.
“We felt like we’d been doing a good job getting the ball inside,” Crusaders coach Chris Biehl said.
“But we saw that (the Raiders) were a little slow in transition tonight, and we started pushing the ball.”
Jordan-Swilling led the Crusaders (14-11, 6-3) with 20 points. Junior Trey Swilling scored 16, and Smith, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end who signed to play football at Alabama, had 15.
Jamar Chase led Rummel (14-12, 5-3) with 14 points and Aaron Brule had 11.
The Crusaders next play at Salmen on Wednesday. The Raiders will play at 1 p.m. Monday at district leader St. Augustine.
After taking a nine-point halftime lead, the Crusaders expanded it to 17 — 49-32 — by the end of the third quarter with their athleticism. Smith and Trey Swilling grabbed rebounds and dribbled the ball the length of the court at full steam, which gave them advantages going to the rim. They scored baskets, were fouled or the Crusaders grabbed offensive rebounds.
“We do that a lot in practice,” Smith said. “We’re pretty versatile guys. Our main objective was just to get to the rim.”
At the start, Brother Martin got the ball low to Jordan-Swilling, Swilling and Smith from the start. However, the Crusaders turned up their aggressiveness defensively, and that enabled them to get baskets on the fast break after Rummel misses and turnovers.
However, the Raiders battled and trailed 19-15 at the 4:47 mark after a basket in the lane by No. 3 (point guard).
The Crusaders’ Epps then answered with a 3-pointer and on the next possession was fouled and sank two free throws.
Those plays launched a 9-0 run that gave Brother Martin a 28-15 lead with 2:17 left. Even after a closing Rummel burst, the Crusaders led 30-21 at halftime by making seven of 13 free-throw attempts while Rummel was 2-of-2.
“(Brother Martin) played a really solid game, and we made too many mistakes on the defensive end of the floor,” Rummel coach Troy Holley said. “They only shot a handful of shots in the second half outside the lane, which is really good on their part. They hit the boards, they were real physical.
“They did a good job.”
At halftime, Jordan-Swilling had 11 points, Swilling six and Smith five. Brule led Rummel with six.