Brother Martin came into St. Augustine on Tuesday night hoping it could come away with a win and make a run at the Catholic League title, but the Purple Knights weren’t quite ready to give up their throne.
The defending District 9-5A champion Purple Knights (22-5, 7-1) jumped out to an early lead and never looked back to defeat Brother Martin for the third time this season 66-60 putting them in the driver’s seat for a run at back-to-back district titles.
“This is the game that sets us apart so we can win the district championship, so it’s a good win,” St. Aug center Charles Brown said. “We knew we needed to come out and win this game so we could be No. 1. We need to win these last two games and play together, so we’re not done yet.”
Brother Martin (19-8, 4-3) cut the St. Aug lead to 36-29 early in the third quarter, but the Purple Knights offense caught fire and put the Crusaders in their rearview mirror. St. Aug extended their lead to double digits with a 16-4 run that ended with two free throws by Brown that gave them a 52-33 lead.
Brother Martin’s defense forced some turnovers with their full-court press to end the quarter, but only were able to cut their deficit down to 52-37 by the end of the third. St. Aug continued to have issues with the press throughout the fourth quarter, but Brother Martin was unable to get the lead down to single digits until the final minute of the game.
Brown finished the game with 15 points and four rebounds. Caleb Daniels finished with a game-high 18 points, three rebounds and three blocks.
“In timeouts, I was telling Caleb and Charles that they have to be aggressive,” St. Aug coach Mitchell Johnson.
“We needed them to be the ones to make the plays down the stretch, and those guys did a great job of stepping up to the challenge.”
St. Aug got off to an early lead by attacking Brother Martin on the inside and forcing their way to the free throw line. The Purple Knights got to the free throw stripe 11 times in the first quarter alone and made nine of their attempts to help them jump out 15-8 by the end of the period.