St. Augustine overcame a halftime deficit and a late-game push from Rummel to pull out a 62-54 win on Senior night at home on Thursday night.
Thursday was both team’s season finale, and St. Aug finished the season with a 23-5 record, with a 9-1 record in Catholic League play. Rummel finished the regular season 18-8 and 4-6.
“It was really big for us to close out district with a win and get ready for the playoffs,” St. Aug coach Mitchell Johnson said. “I knew we would take their best shot. They came out and competed, but we were able to take their best punch and find a way to win.”
Rummel’s full-court pressure forced St. Aug into several mistakes during the fourth quarter and it was able to cut the St. Aug down to 52-48 in the final two minutes of the game.
But the Raiders missed two free throws on back-to-back possessions that could’ve made the score closer, and it ultimately put them in a hole that was too deep to dig out of.
St. Aug center Charles Brown finished with a game-high 24 points along with 13 rebounds and two blocks. Caleb Daniels added 12 points, seven rebounds and two steals.
“It feels great to go out in my last (regular-season) home game with a win and as back-to-back district champs,” Brown said. “Kudos to my team for doing they’re job and stepping up. I love those guys.”
After coming into the second half with a one-point deficit, the Purple Knights, who entered Thursday as the No. 5 seed in the LHSAA’s unofficial Class 5A power rankings, upped their effort on the defensive end and got a few rim-rattling dunks from Caleb Daniels and Charles Brown that swung the momentum in St. Aug’s favor for good.
Daniels capped a quarter-opening 8-2 run with a soaring putback dunk over several Rummel defenders that gave the Purple Knights a 31-27 lead early in the frame. Brown added two more dunks during the quarter, the second of which gave the Purple Knights a 41-30 lead with less than two minutes left, their first double-digit lead of the game.
St. Aug led 44-35 at the end of the third.
“It’s always important for us to come out that first four minutes in the third quarter with a lot of energy,” Johnson said. “I challenged the team at halftime, and they stepped up to the challenge. We knew they wouldn’t go away, but we just needed to execute all the way to the end.”
Rummel fell behind early in the games, but they utilized their perimeter shooting to take control of the game in the second quarter.
The Raiders entered the second trailing 16-10, but opened the period with a 12-2 run that was capped off by an Iman Fazande layup that gave Rummel a 22-18 lead midway through the quarter.
The Purple Knights defense clamped down for the final stretch, but Rummel’s five first-half 3-pointers helped give them enough cushion to take a 25-23 lead into halftime.
Trey Harris paced the Rummel attack with 23 points (18 in the second half) and five rebounds.