Posted On: 11/29/17 12:44 PM

This was a really competitive early season matchup between two neighborhood rivals who are only separated by four of five blocks.

McDonogh 35 got off to a blazing hot start going on a 15-4 run to start the game but St. Augustine responded with a 14-2 run out of halftime to take a 40-37 lead midway through the third quarter.

The matchup was tight the rest of the way but McDonogh 35 got a few key buckets while making just enough of their free throws to hold on for a 60-58 non-district win on the road Monday, November 27.

MVP: Joe Foucha, McDonogh 35 2018 6’1” G

Foucha is an absolute beast on the football field garnering Division I offers as a safety from many of the top schools around the nation, including Alabama, and he brings that physicality and competitive edge to the hardwood as well. He was the Roneagles’ most consistent player on both ends of the floor and the energy he brings to the game is unmatched. Foucha finished with a team-high 12 points and also had three assists with three steals.

Best offensive performance: Bryson Celestine, St. Augustine 2018 5’9” PG

Celestine is a prototypical point guard who’s main goal is to get his teammates going but he showed he can put the ball in the basket as well when needed. He was the game’s leading scorer and assister with 16 and 4, respectively, and kept the Purple Knights in the game with a couple of big baskets down the stretch.

Best defensive performance: McDonogh 35’s team defense

Ideally this would be a player but the Roneagles were so good as a group, it would be a disservice to single one of them out. They played zone for portions of the game but extended it to routinely pressure ball handlers and cause havoc in the passing lanes. Their aggression led to 14 steals and a significant number of those led to easy baskets in transition.

Best shooter: Brandon Bode, St. Augustine 2018 6’2” G/W

Bode has established himself as a knock-down shooter as he was at it again Monday against McDonogh 35. He was scorching hot in the third quarter draining three 3-pointers while also making all three of his foul shots after being fouled on another 3-point attempt. The lefty has a smooth release and is deadly in catch-and-shoot situations. Bode finished with 14 points and also mixed it up inside grabbing six rebounds.

Best intangibles: Anthony Daggs, McDonogh 35 2018 6’2” G

Daggs’ toughness, awareness, defensive prowess and athleticism were all key factors in McDonogh 35’s win. He swooped in twice for sneaky steals off of inbounds plays after McDonogh 35 makes, one of which gave the Roneagles a 53-48 lead with 2:21 to play. Daggs also had a key assist hitting Matthew LaFrance on an inbounds play that put McDonogh 35 up 58-53 with just 33 seconds to go. The 6-foot-2 guard finished the game with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists.

Best aspect of the environment: St. Augustine Student Section

The Purple Knight student section was ready to go for this rivalry, and most of their attention was focused on Foucha. They gave the 4-star safety a hard time from the opening tap and there was a friendly back and forth between the two parties throughout the night. The group really got going after St. Aug guard Ze Muse made a quick move to get by Foucha for a bucket but the McDonogh 35 guard had the last laugh pulling out the win.

Best sequence: Bryson Celestine layup to Joe Foucha And-One

The most intense sequence of the game came with just under three minutes left in the third quarter of a tight game. Celestine made a sweet move knifing through the defense before spinning a layup in off the backboard through traffic giving the Purple Knights a 42-39 lead. Foucha came right back, though, getting a defender off his feet with a pump fake, then muscling in a layup for an and-one. Foucha made sure to let the student section know about it flexing his muscles in their direction after the bucket.

Best under-the-radar performance(s): McDonogh 35 6’3” 2019 G Jesse Lawrence/St. Augustine 6’0” 2018 G Ze Muse

Lawrence was an effective player for McDonogh on both ends of the floor. He brought a lot of versatility to the Roneagles lineup with his shooting, ball handling and awareness on the defensive end of the court. Lawrence has good length for the position, plays under control and finished the game with 9 points (1 3-pointer, 4/5 FTs), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal.

Muse looks like he will be one of St. Augustine’s go-to players on the offensive end and with good reason. He’s a thick guard with good quickness and strength to get to the rim and finish, and he’s also comfortable on the outside knocking down jumpers. Muse finished the game with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.

Best story to watch going forward: McDonogh 35 potential roster additions

The Roneagles could still add two key players to their roster in the coming weeks and months. 6-foot-4 2018 G/W Kendrick Dandy is expected to return in the next couple of weeks from an ankle injury and McDonogh 35 might also add 2020 G Antonio Warren.

Roneagles coach Kevin Sanders, better known as “Coach Woo”, said Warren has a bit of maturing to do off the court, however. Warren, who snagged his first offer from UNO over the summer, suited up for the junior varsity team Monday night and may return to the varsity roster in January or February.

Best quote(s): Joe Foucha/McDonogh 35 coach Kevin Sanders

Foucha: “Everybody knew their job going into the game and we knew it was going to be a close game. We knew St. Aug wasn’t going to let up so our coach told us we had to make our free throws. We only missed a few and that got us over the hump….

(On back and forth with the crowd) This is my last year playing and I want to give the crowd, my school and the city something to see. I just enjoy the game.”

Sanders (On contributions from multiple players): “That’s going to be what we have to get. We just got the football guys back and they’re giving us some extra intensity. Once we round it out and get Kendrick Dandy back, we’ll be much better.”