After St. Augustine lost to Cathedral Catholic for the third straight time this year, coach Mike Haupt shrugged his shoulders and said, “it’s the last time that matters.”
Though both teams are hoping it isn’t the last time, just in case it is, the Saints will always know they played their best game of the season — maybe of the last decade — when they jumped on Cathedral Catholic early and never let up.
As a result of the impressive 62-36 victory Saturday at Viejas Arena, St. Augustine (25-4) captured its first San Diego Section Division III basketball title since 2005 and will go into the Southern California Regional playoffs Wednesday as the champion. Cathedral Catholic (25-4) also advances and the two could meet in the regional finals.
“We prepared for this all year,” said the Saints’ UC Davis-bound Brynton Lemar, who led all scorers with 23 points and 12 rebounds. He nailed three long three-point field goals, two in the second quarter when St. Augustine built its halftime lead to 39-16.
“We weren’t scared and we knew what to expect. Coach repeated that this was really the only game that mattered and we came out aggressive.”
Junior Trey Kell was Lemar’s partner in the emotional victory as he scored 22 points and swept down 11 boards.
“We wanted to show everyone we were the best team in San Diego,” said Kell, who already has three college offers. “We worked the first half and when they made their run, coach told us just to stay calm and get back to what got us the lead.”
Cathedral Catholic outscored the Saints 8-2 to start the third quarter but could not maintain the momentum.
“We came out cold,” said Xavier Williams, who led the Dons with 13 points. “It wasn’t the arena, it wasn’t nerves — we just missed the shots we usually make.”