Basketball: John Curtis holds off Rummel for key district win

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RIVER RIDGE – Friday night was not a good time to catch John Curtis Christian.

The talented Patriots were coming off their first district loss Tuesday night to Karr.

Archbishop Rummel was also coming off a district loss at home to St. Augustine.

The Raiders played hard from start to finish but a rash of turnovers proved fatal as John Curtis held off the Raiders 61-55 at Curtis.

It is not how you start but how you finish.

It is also not about who starts but who finishes.

Curtis used huge spurts and outstanding bench play to get the job done.

Samajai McClendon was the spark the Patriots needed.

“We came out and did what coach said to do to play defense, block out and get rebounds,” McClendon said. “He told us to play our game. We can win state this year. We can take it all.”

McClendon came off the bench to score 22 points with four rebounds and two steals. Marlon Prout and Dagan Bruno were also excellent, bringing energy to the floor when called upon.

The first quarter was all about runs.

The Patriots opened the game on a 5-0 run before the Raiders ripped off 13 straight points to make it 13-5. John Curtis responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game 13-13 before Midnight Martin nailed a 3-pointer to give the Patriots a 16-15 lead at the end of the quarter.

The runs continued in the second quarter with Rummel going on a 6-0 spurt to take a 24-20 lead.

Then, sparked by Samajai McClendon off the bench and with outstanding defense, the Patriots began forcing a rash of Rummel turnovers and closed the half on a 15-0 run to take a 35-24 halftime advantage. McClendon had 12 points in the half and the Raiders committed nine turnovers in the quarter.

McClendon continued his surge in the third quarter, scoring six points and Curtis maintained a 45-33 lead going to the fourth quarter.

Rummel would not go away, fighting back to cut the deficit to 47-44 with just over four minutes remaining but the Patriots steadied the ship, forced three more turnovers, and held on for a solid victory.

In all, the Raiders committed 27 turnovers and that was a decisive factor.

Autrail Manning scored 10 poinnts and Midnight Martin finished with nine points for John Curtis.

Darrius Davis led Rummel with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists, Chase Marino had 14 points and five rebounds and TJ Duhe finished with 12 points for the Raiders.

“I thought our guys were able to maintain enough composure late after we got that double digit lead to hold on,” Curtis coach Bill Lewit said. “We’ve been in so many of these situations. You have to give Rummel a lot of credit. They were very, very formidable from start to finish. We made enough plays to hold on to a hard fought victory. I really believe we have eight starters. Our bench gave us a great lift.”

Curtis swept three games with Rummel last season and has beaten Rummel seven straight times dating back to 2020.

“You’ve got arguably the most talented team in the district and they (Curtis) are very well coached,” Rummel coach Scott Thompson said. “Our guys played hard. We have to have an extraordinary effort to win games in district. We had those lulls and against a team that is that talented, that well coached, you cannot have that happened. I’m very proud of the way our team battled back.”

The Patriots (16-4, 4-1) quickly return to action Saturday in a non-district contest at home against East Jefferson.

The Raiders (15-8, 2-3) are back in action in District 9-5A play Tuesday at home against Karr.

Curtis and Rummel will meet a second time on February 14 at Rummel.

FINAL
JC 16 19 10 16 — 61
RUM 15 9 9 22 — 55

Scoring:
JC—Samajai McClendon 22, Autrail Manning 10, Midnight Martin 9, Mark Johnson 7, Michael Turner Jr. 6, Dagan Bruno 5, Aaron Johnson Jr. 2

RUM—Darrius Davis 18, Chase Marino 14, TJ Duhe 12, Ja’Mard Jones 4, Denim Smith 1

Rebounds: JC 31, RUM 29

Turnovers: JC 20, RUM 27

Area Prep Basketball Results from Friday, Jan. 20

Boys
Archbishop Hannan 49, Franklinton 31
Archbishop Shaw 78, West Jefferson 55
Fontainebleau 48, Hammond 46
Hahnville 47, Central Lafourche 40
Holden 59, Ben Franklin 53
Holy Cross 59, Brother Martin 56
John Curtis Christian 61, Archbishop Rummel 55
Karr 51, Country Day 48
Landry 66, Bonnabel 63
Ponchatoula 86, Covington 67
St. Augustine 52, Jesuit 44
St. Paul’s 66, Slidell 52
Walker 68, Amite 59

Girls
Academy of Sacred Heart (NO) 44, Country Day 25
Albany 79, Bogalusa 36
Ben Franklin 47, Holden 36
De La Salle 65, St. Katharine Drexel 19
East St. John 48, Destrehan 35
Hahnville 41, Central Lafourche 31
Hammond 61, Fontainebleau 59
Lakeshore 50, Salmen 49
Lutcher 46, Morgan City 43
Mandeville 51, Northshore 32
Patterson 56, St. James 54
Ponchatoula 66, Covington 18
St. Helena 29, Northlake Christian 17

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