Though a near-capacity crowd was creating what could only be called a din at Point Loma Nazarene, Cathedral Catholic High’s Michael Rosenburg was home in his backyard.
Not literally, but in his mind.
With peaceful thoughts he dribbled twice, spun the basketball, dribbled twice more and buried 13 of 16 free throw attempts, lifting the No. 1-rated Dons (19-3, 7-0) past their parochial school rival St. Augustine 62-59 in overtime on Thursday.
“It’s something my brother taught me,” said the senior guard, who finished with 19 points that included the final five in the extra session, all from the charity stripe. “I knew whether I made it or missed it, my team would be behind me.”
The Dons led for most of the contest but fell behind with 31 seconds to play in regulation, 53-51, when Saints junior Trey Kell scored inside.
That’s when Rosenburg took matters into his own hands, driving for a tying field goal with 12 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Once there, the No. 2 Saints were forced to foul, leading to a parade of four starters heading to the bench with five fouls and, even worse, allowing Rosenburg to step to the line, where he was deadly accurate.
This was a key game for both teams as the Dons were coming off a stunning loss to Army-Navy in the MLK Showcase and the Saints (15-4, 5-2) had to have a win to avoid falling two games behind Cathedral in the Western League.
“We didn’t shoot well against Army-Navy, but we made the field goals when we had to tonight,” said Rosenburg, noting that Brandon Michel (12 points), Nick Prunty (9) and Xavier Williams (9) all hit key shots.
“Every game against St. Augustine is a great one.”
Kell and Brynton Lemar scored 19 points apiece for St. Augustine, which refused to wilt under the intense pressure of playing from behind. It was the third straight loss for the Saints against the Dons, each game closer than the one before.
Kell added a game-high 15 rebounds.
“The one that counts most is the last one,” said St. Augustine coach Mike Haupt, obviously hoping that would be in the section Division III finals.