St. Augustine held Jesuit to one field goal in the fourth quarter and sank six pressure-packed free throws in the last 50.6 seconds in taking a 45-42 victory Friday at Jesuit in the District 9-5A opener for both teams.
The Purple Knights (16-4, 1-0), ranked No. 4 in The New Orleans Advocate’s Large School poll, were led by Charles Brown, who scored 18 points. Foster Moreau led Jesuit (10-6, 0-1) with a game-high 19 points.
St. Augustine overcame a 38-37 Blue Jays lead in the final 4:51, with four free throws by guard Jordan Sneed and two by guard Kelvin Jackson key in the Knights taking a 43-38 lead with 38.5 seconds left.
“It starts on the defensive end, defending and rebounding,” St. Augustine coach Mitchell Johnson said. “We didn’t really make any adjustments defensively; we just got up on them and guarded them better.”
After St. Augustine took its five-point lead, Jesuit still made things interesting. Trey LaForge pump-faked the Knights’ Caleb Daniels into a foul behind the 3-point line with 21.1 seconds showing. LaForge made two of the three free throws.
With the Blue Jays pressing, Chris Beebe then came up with a steal, and LaForge was fouled with 12.4 seconds left and had a one-and-one free throw situation.
With the Jays trailing by three, he made the first free throw and tried to throw the second one hard off the backboard. However, the shot went in.
Sneed was then fouled with 9.0 left and knocked down the free throws, sealing the win.
“It came down to a few plays down the stretch, and they had some opportunities and made them,” Jesuit coach Chris Jennings. “I thought we had things going our way, and then the tide changed toward the end of the second quarter, and they got back into it. Then, it just became a battle with two teams playing real hard.”
The Jays forged a 17-9 lead by 3:17 of the second quarter mostly by taking advantage of St. Augustine’s man-to-man defense with back-door cuts to the basket and the low-post play of Moreau, who scored 10 in the first half.
However, with the Blue Jays leading 20-11, Brown scored six points in the final 1:20 of the half, bringing St. Aug to 20-17. He finished the half with eight.
Daniels then sank a 3-pointer 19 seconds into the third quarter, tying the score, and Brown followed with a 10-footer that gave the Knights their first lead. After that, the lead changed hands five times and there were three ties, including 33-33 to end the quarter.
The Knights led 37-35 in the fourth until Moreau drove and made a 3-point play with 4:51 left that gave Jesuit its last lead.
St. Augustine shot 10-of-10 on free throws in the game, with Jesuit shooting 10-of-14.
Daniels and Sneed each scored eight for the Knights, and LaForge had 10 for the Blue Jays.