ST. AUGUSTINE 56, HOLY CROSS 45
at Holy Cross, Tuesday (Jan. 7), Catholic League (District 9-5A)
Records: St. Augustine, 17-1 (1-0); Holy Cross, 12-8 (0-1)
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: 3 KEY MOMENTS
- Nothing comes easy in the Catholic League and that was the case for St. Augustine in this year’s district opener against Holy Cross. While the Purple Knights held a fairly comfortable lead for the majority of the game, Tigers point guard Jeremy Lindsey buried a 3-pointer with 2:21 left that sliced St. Aug’s lead to 49-43. The Purple Knights soon answered, though, with football standout Jaheim Walters battling inside for an offensive put-back. Those were the first two of his seven straight points that helped put Holy Cross away in the final minutes.
- Despite St. Aug answering seemingly every time Holy Cross put together a couple of baskets, there was no quit in the Tigers. Their persistence finally got them within striking distance in the fourth quarter when an 8-3 run cut St. Aug’s lead to 45-40 with 4:19 left after back-to-back buckets by Aaron Ursin. Jeremy Lindsey later connected on a 3-pointer that got the Purple Knight lead down to 49-43, but St. Aug scored the next seven points of the game as Holy Cross’ comeback fell short.
- It was a wire-to-wire win for St. Aug as they jumped out to an 11-4 lead and never trailed in the game. Their best stretch came in the second quarter as they outscored Holy Cross, 15-9, and a triple by junior guard Ashton Trufant with just under 15 seconds to go in the half gave them a 29-17 advantage at intermission.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jaron Pierre, St. Augustine
It’s no secret Pierre is one of, if not the top shooter in the metro area, and Tuesday night was yet another example. The 6-foot-3 senior guard was in a zone in the first half putting in 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting including 3-of-4 from deep. He also grabbed seven rebounds in the first 16 minutes, and finished the game with a double-double scoring 18 points with 11 boards while handing out a pair of assists.
- As is usually the case under St. Aug coach Mitchell Johnson, defense is the calling-card for this year’s Purple Knights team. They held Holy Cross to just 35 percent shooting (20-of-57) and allowed just three attempts at the free throw line (2-of-3), and also flustered the Tigers into a 3-of-26 effort from behind the 3-point line. Meanwhile, St. Aug connected on 21 of its 45 shots (47%) including 8-of-18 from 3-point land and 6-of-16 at the stripe.
- Apart from Pierre, St. Aug also got key contributions from junior guard Ashton Trufant and seniors D’Mari Wiltz and Jaheim Walters. Trufant knocked down four of his six three-point attempts, Wiltz directed the action from his point guard spot scoring eight points while dishing out five assists, and Walters gave the Purple Knights some toughness inside grabbing eight rebounds while scoring the team’s last seven points.
- St. Augustine has now won 12 straight games with their last and only defeat coming to Madison Prep, 39-38, at home on November 29. The Purple Knights have notable wins over Karr (57-52), Booker T. Washington (68-55), Landry-Walker (59-41) and Bonnabel four times (55-46, 58-49, 51-40, 51-41).
St. Augustine coach Mitchell Johnson: “We knew coming in this was going to be a touch matchup. It’s the Catholic League and I’m always a firm believer that anything can happen in the Catholic League. We were able to make some shots, get some stops, Jaron (Pierre) did a great job putting the ball in the basket and playing great defense today…He works hard putting time in the gym getting shots up before and after practice.
They’re a great transition team and we were trying to take away their early baskets and get multiple stops throughout the game.”
Holy Cross coach Mister Kirkwood: “We couldn’t make shots and they made a lot of shots. They defend and they rebound very well and with them, not getting a lot of second-chance shots kills you.
Aaron (Ursin) played pretty big tonight and I’m proud of him because he hasn’t asserted himself much, but tonight he did.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
St. Augustine | 14 | 15 (29) | 11 (40) | 16 – 56
Holy Cross | 8 | 9 (17) | 15 (32) | 13 – 45
St. Augustine: Jaron Pierre, 18; Jaheim Walters, 13; Ashton Trufant, 12; D’Mari Wiltz, 8; Jaden Clark, 5.
Holy Cross: Jeremy Lindsey, 18; Aaron Ursin, 12; Tyler Kirkwood, 6; Michael White, 3; Donnell Byrd, 2 Miles Metze, 2; Hunter Hidalgo, 2.
Up Next: Both St. Augustine and Holy Cross continue Catholic League play on Friday. The Purple Knights host Shaw at 7:15 p.m. while Holy Cross travels to John Curtis.