Catholic League favorites St. Augustine and Brother Martin entered Friday’s showdown looking to bounce back from somewhat surprising Tuesday night losses.
It was the Purple Knights who got back on track.
St. Augustine used a dominant third quarter to pull away for a 68-54 victory over visiting Brother Martin in a battle of teams ranked in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10.
“It was a big win for us,” said St. Aug coach Mitchell Johnson, whose team lost to Rummel on Tuesday. “It’s St. Aug and Brother Martin, so it’s always big. We just had to settle down and play our type of ball.”
Louisiana-Lafayette signee Bryce Washington scored a game-high 20 points and had nine rebounds to lead the Purple Knights (17-8, 2-1), ranked No. 7 in the Super 10.
“We lost three out of our last four games and we wanted to erase those losses,” Washington said. “We knew this was a big rivalry game.”
The eighth-ranked Crusaders (16-7, 1-2) had to play most of the game without leading scorer Jordan Cornish. The Tennessee signee picked up his second technical foul with 2:19 left in the first quarter and was ejected. The first tech came with 5:24 left in the quarter for hanging on the rim and the second one came, Cornish said, as he was trying to explain something to the referee.
“That hurt,” Brother Martin coach Chris Biehl said. “Jordan is a team leader. But I am proud of the rest of the guys for fighting their tails off.”
St. Aug couldn’t take advantage of Jordan’s absence early, making just 5 of 14 free throws in the first quarter for a 14-13 lead.
The Crusaders hung around and took their first lead, 27-25, on a Jared West lay-up with 1:24 left in the first half.
But a three-point play by St. Aug forward Charles Brown and a pair of Brown free throws gave the Purple Knights a 30-27 halftime lead.
St. Aug then scored the first nine points of the second half on back-to-back 3-pointers by Dejon Peters and Erin Bringler and a three-point play by Washington to finally get some cushion. The Purple Knights outscored the Crusaders 19-6 in the quarter to pull away. Brother Martin didn’t score its first field goal of the third quarter until Drew Lewis’ layup with 2:13 left.
“That four-minute stretch killed us,” Biehl said. “That’s the second time in the last four games we have come out and started the second half like that.”
Brown scored 15 points and Bringler had 14 for the Purple Knights.
“Charles and I said we needed to take over in the second half,” Washington said.
Luke Walker scored 12 points to lead Brother Martin, which has now lost two straight after losing to Jesuit earlier in the week. Venjie Wallis scored nine, all in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late.
St. Augustine plays Holy Cross on Tuesday and Brother Martin plays Rummel.