NEW ORLEANS— Greg White-Pittman paced Holy Cross with his all-around game, a mixture of long-range jump shots, layups and stingy defense.
His counterpart at St. Augustine, Bryce Washington, focused his efforts in the post, where he utilized his length selection of moves near the rim.
On this Tuesday night, the big guy won. Washington helped St. Augustine overcome a tightly contested fourth quarter to earn a 54-47 victory at its gymnasium.
Washington scored a team-high 20 points and helped St. Augustine break open a 41-41 contest with five minutes remaining with an 13-6 run.
“We used our length today,” said Washington, a junior. “Offensive rebounds is a big thing for me. I’m big. I have a big body, so I take that very seriously. I have to use my body to push people around.”
It worked, knocking Holy Cross to 13-12 overall and 2-4 in District 10-4A play. St. Augustine improved to 20-8 and 5-1 entering Friday’s game at Riverdale. Purple Knights coach Mitchell Johnson emphasized to his players to get Washington the ball, especially on a night in which leading scorer Craig Victor scored just three points.
“Sometimes, games like this happen,” Johnson said of Victor’s performance. “We were just trying to get Bryce the ball and get him to make plays.”
Washington’s performance overshadowed White-Pittman’s game-high 23 points, which included 12 points in the third quarter. He scored five of Holy Cross’ points in the fourth quarter. Holy Cross, which was the undersized team on Tuesday, did not have any easy shots in transition, forcing the squad to compete in the half court against St. Augustine’s tall defense.
“At the end of the day, their size beat us,” White-Pittman said. “At the end of the day, we couldn’t stop it and they worked it to their advantage.”
White-Pittman did his part, pushing momentum to Holy Cross in the final seconds of the third quarter. He hit a 3-pointer with 13.6 seconds left as he was fouled. He also converted the free throw, giving the Crusaders a 37-35 lead entering the fourth quarter.
But as Holy Cross struggled, St. Augustine thrived.
Marcel Daniels came off the bench to convert a 3-pointer. Washington then scored in the post, missing the accompanying free throw.
Kelan Chairs added a layup on a fastbreak with 1:10 left, giving St. Augustine a 48-41 lead. Ulysses Jones added one free throw with 44.3 seconds.
Holy Cross did not score until White-Pittman made the second of two free throws with 33.9 seconds left.
Holy Cross point guard Jordan Brookler added 11 points as the team’s only other double-digit scorer.