Moments after St. Augustine forward Charles Brown picked up his second foul just three minutes into the game Saturday night, he looked over at Mitchell Johnson and begged his coach to leave him in the game.
Johnson wasn’t having it.
So instead, Brown had to sit most of the first half.
It didn’t matter. He made up for it in the second half.
Brown dominated the second half, helping St. Aug pull away for a 45-30 victory over Jesuit in the championship game of the Chalmette High/ Valero Refinery Christmas Classic.
“I knew we needed to get this win,” said Brown, who was named the tournament Most Valuable Player. “The team needed me and I just showed up. My teammates did a good job when I was out.”
The 6-foot-6 Brown finished with a game-high 17 points. He scored all but two of those points in the second half. He scored 11 in the third quarter, turning a 20-14 halftime lead into a comfortable 37-22 lead at the end of the third.
“We made a commitment to get Charles some touches in the third quarter,” Johnson said. “Jesuit made it hard to do that early. Charles made a decision last year he was going to lead our team and work hard and do it by example.”
Brown admits it was hard having to sit out most of the first half.
“I was thinking ‘Man I should’ve played smarter,’ ” said Brown, who holds a scholarship offer from UNO.
Kelvin Jackson scored eight points and Caleb Daniels had seven for the Purple Knights (10-3) and were both named to the all-tournament team.
Trey LaForge, the quarterback on Jesuit’s state championship football team, scored 12 points to lead the Blue Jays (7-3).
LaForge scored eight of Jesuit’s nine second -uarter points. He scored the Blue Jay’s final eight points of the quarter that ended with St. Aug holding a 20-14 halftime lead. St. Aug’s Jackson closed out the half with a jumper from the corner just inside the 3-point line and led the Purple Knights with six points through the first two quarters.
Brown took over from there.
“I just thought they were really disciplined and executed their plan to perfection,” said Jesuit coach Chris Jennings. “That’s why they are so good.”
The Blue Jays went scoreless the last 3:40 of the third quarter and scored just seven points the last 11 minutes of the game. The Blue Jays played without Foster Moreau, a star tight end on the football team who injured his shoulder in Friday’s semifinals.
“I think it would have made things a little more difficult for them,” Jennings said. “I don’t know if it would have changed the outcome, but it would have made it more competitive.”
LaForge, Moreau, and Paul Kohnke of Jesuit all made the all-tournament team.
Other players named to the all-tournament team were: Davion Sullivan (Higgins), Corey Vinson (Salmen), Chris Vickers (Salmen), Cody Rudolph (Salmen).
But the biggest honor went to Brown, who was getting congrats for the MVP honor even before it was officially announced.
“It means a great deal,” Brown said. “I worked hard for it.”