Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
St. Augustine evens score with University City
Saints hold off fourth-quarter rally for win
St. Augustine exacted some revenge Tuesday night with a win 79-76 win at No. 5 University City in Western League action. The Centurions beat the Saints by two in the Grossmont Winter Classic on Dec. 23.
St. Augustine guard Stephon Lamar insists that the Saints did not do anything differently this time around.
“Just come in here and execute and play hard. That was basically the gameplan – come in here and play our game,” Lamar said. “Don’t come in here and try to do something spectacular, just get a solid win and we’ll be good.”
In a fast-paced first half, St. Augustine used its full court press to create turnovers early and build a solid lead. The Saints led the Centurions 38-25 at halftime.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Centurions trailed by 16 and it looked as if the Saints would win going away. But University City mounted a furious comeback and a three-pointer by guard Mark Hills with 12 seconds left made it a four-point game.
“This always happens when we play UC – they start making everything in the fourth quarter,” Lamar said. “And when we called a timeout I told the team they’re going to start making shots, they’re not a bad team – stay composed and we’re going to win this game by making free throws and doing what we’re supposed to do.”
But after a St. Augustine turnover, University City missed a three-pointer and Lamar made one of two free throws to increase the Saints’ lead to five and ice the game. Hills made a layup as time expired – the final two in a 34-point fourth quarter.
“We made our free throws and we ended up winning the game by three. If we would have missed some we probably would have lost the game,” Lamar said.
Lamar led all scorers with 31 points. Guards Kaum Brandon (17 points) and Garrett Ballard (14) also finished in double figures for the Saints (12-3, 2-0 Western), who upset the No. 5 Centurions (12-3, 2-1) in their own gym.
“We don’t worry about the rankings, we come out here to win,” Lamar said. “We look at the big picture – we want to win a CIF title.”
Center David Washington led the Centurions with 28 points. Hills had 16 points and three three-pointers and guard Reynard Rice chipped in with 11 points and five assists in a losing effort.
St. Augustine guard Kaum Brandon goes up for a fast break layup