St. Augustine reserve Daniel Caya (right, shown in a game last month) provided a spark in the Saints' win over Cathedral Catholic on Wednesday night.
St. Augustine can beat the good teams. It can handle the average teams. How about an intense rival?
With a 60-48 boys basketball victory over longtime parochial school nemesis Cathedral Catholic on Wednesday night before a raucous crowd at Point Loma Nazarene University, the Saints answered that question.
As expected, San Diego State-bound Trey Kell led the way with 25 points and nine rebounds, which has become the norm. Not so predictable was a seven-point spurt by reserve Daniel Caya that turned a 40-38 game into a far more comfortable 47-38 advantage that ballooned to 54-38 as the Saints went on a 14-0 run to put away what had been a tight game.
“No one else was taking charge, so I brought a lot of energy,” said Caya, who entered the game when Martin Tombe collected his fourth foul. “I see my role as pushing the starters in practice.”
The No. 1-ranked Saints (18-2, 4-0 Western League) won their eighth straight. At first, it looked like they would cruise when they took a 12-2 lead. Instead, Cathedral Catholic (11-6, 3-1) roared back behind Kevin McNeela’s two 3-pointers to jump ahead at 24-18.
The game stayed close until Caya ignited the fourth-quarter run.
“Daniel was just great,” Saints coach Mike Haupt said, “on offense and blocking out on defense.”
Cameron Moore led Cathedral with 16 points. Reid Johnson added 14, and Max Gardner pulled down 12 rebounds.