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CLAIREMONT MESA – Losers of two straight league contests headed into a showdown with ranked rival St. Augustine, Cathedral Catholic had all the motivation it needed on Wednesday night. The Dons jumped on the seventh-ranked Saints early and controlled the tempo in a 53-43 upset at Mesa College.

“Last week we had a really tough week and we wanted to bounce back,” said Cathedral Catholic guard Marco Kengott. “This was key for us and a huge win.”

After a fast-paced start to the game, Cathedral Catholic (13-7, 3-3 Western) pulled ahead late in the first quarter with a string of transition baskets. The Dons held a comfortable 20-9 advantage after the opening quarter.

“Starting out slow has been our weakness this season,” Kengott said. “We haven’t been coming out right away, but we did in this game.”

Cathedral Catholic led by 12 at halftime and maintained that lead in the second half. The Dons sat in a 2-3 zone for a majority of the game and St. Augustine couldn’t solve it consistently, going scoreless for stretches in each quarter.

“The first time we played they only hit one outside shot from three, so our game plan was to pretty much make them beat us from outside,” Kengott said. “We played off and we rebounded well.”

Late in the third quarter, St. Augustine guard Drew Peterson hit a three-pointer to make it a 38-28 game. That is as close as the Saints would get down the stretch, as the Dons slowed the game to close out their rivals by a double-digit margin.

“We kept up our energy throughout,” Kengott said. “We didn’t let up and we kept the momentum after halftime.”

For Cathedral Catholic, the win avenges a 64-52 loss to St. Augustine in the Wolfpack-Horseman Tournament on Dec. 11. The religious rivals will settle things in the rubber match Feb. 18 at Cathedral Catholic.

“It’s a huge rivalry here so it feels good. We have to get them one more time, maybe two,” Kengott said, alluding to a potential meeting in the Division III playoffs.

Three starters finished in double figures for Cathedral Catholic led by forward Juan Martinez, who scored 14. The Dons also snapped a two-game Western League losing streak with the victory.

“It wasn’t really mentioned much but it was all on our minds,” Kengott said. “We didn’t want to bring up the negatives during practice but we all knew it and we were ready to move on.”

Guards Chris Banaga and Brynton Lemar led St. Augustine with 11 points apiece. The Saints and Dons split their two meetings last season.

Cathedral Catholic – 53 (20-12-11-10)

Martinez 14, Kengott 12, Williams 11, Prunty 9, Mathew Rosenburg 5 (starters) Garcia 2

St. Augustine – 43 (9-11-12-11)

Banaga 11, Lemar 11, Ryan 5, Peterson 4, Evan Critchlow 0 (starters) Samaniego 8, Davey 3, Madsen 1

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Cathedral Catholic guard Mathew Rosenburg elevates in the late between two St. Augustine defenders

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