Brother Martin needed to get that nasty taste out of its mouth.
After being forced to watch St. Augustine fans rush their court after a loss Friday, the Crusaders (17-6, 2-1) exorcised all their demons with a dominating 73-41 victory over Rummel in a Catholic League matchup at Brother Martin on Tuesday night, the Crusaders’ 17th consecutive win over the Raiders.
“I was hoping the boys would come out, play hard and play smart basketball,” Brother Martin coach Chris Biehl said. “They responded to my challenge.”
Travis Epps paced the Brother Martin attack with 17 points (all in first half), making four of his six 3-point attempts, and Venjie Wallis added eight points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
“We needed this one to get back our momentum,” Epps said. “Our mindset now is to just keep pushing for that district title.”
Epps credited his team’s defense as the major reason why Brother Martin dominated. The Crusaders didn’t allow a Rummel (17-7, 4-2) player to reach double digits in scoring and held them to 15 points as a team in the first half.
“We tried to push the tempo and really speed the game up,” Epps said. “We were trapping them and got a few layups off that, so that helped us out a lot.”
The Crusaders caught fire from the perimeter early to jump on Rummel in the first quarter. Epps came off the bench and knocked down his first three 3-point attempts, and Brother Martin made four total as they jumped out to a 20-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
By halftime, the Crusaders lead ballooned to 40-15 and Epps scoring total grew to 17 on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
The stifling Brother Martin defense held Rummel to two field goals in the second quarter and recorded eight steals in the first half.
“Travis is one of the best shooters in the city. For my money, he’s the best,” Biehl said.
“He’s a heck of a player, and I’m proud to see him have a good night.”
The Raiders were without one of their dynamic backcourt scorers for the majority of the first half due to foul trouble, and it may have been part of the reason why they fell in such a hole.
Guard Trey Harris, who scored a team-high 12 points in Rummel’s loss to Jesuit on Friday, got his second foul at the 5:33 mark in the first quarter and was forced to sit out the rest of the first half.
The senior scored all of his team-high eight points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to get his team back in the game.
“We have a lot of respect for Trey,” Biehl said. “To see him go to the bench kind of early, was a huge difference maker.”
The Crusaders were without center Irv Smith because of an illness, but Biehl said “he’ll be fine”.