SMYRNA – Salesianum used a scorching second quarter to open up a big lead, then made a bunch of free throws down the stretch in a 67-53 win at Smyrna on Feb. 2. Four players scored in double figures for the Sals.
Friday’s snow pushed the game back one night, and both teams looked like they had plenty of energy stored up during a blistering first quarter. All five Sals starters reached the scoreboard, and five Eagles scored as well as the teams raced to a 17-17 tie after the opening eight minutes.
The back-and-forth continued in the opening minutes of the second. Smyrna took a lead on a Brandon Smith jumper, but the Sals’ Jack Brown answered with a baseline three-pointer, his second of the evening. Nahshon Sylvester hit a nice floater, giving the Eagles the one-point advantage, but Rasheen Caulk got those back – plus one – from the free-throw line after being fouled on a three-point attempt to make it 23-21 in favor of the visitors. That was a catalyst for Sallies.
Sean Regan got behind the defense for an easy layup, and Caulk made a free throw. Sylvester hit a mid-range jumper, but Caulk answered with a third-chance field goal. Darnell Vaughan scored on an old-fashioned three-point play, followed by a bank shot by Regan. It was Vaughan’s turn next, and Ethan Hinds added two free throws. Regan took a pass from Vaughan for another layup before Tommy
Montooth found the range from three. Brown closed out the 16-0 run with a short jumper, putting the Sals ahead, 44-23.
The Sals’ hot shooting cooled in the third, and the Eagles found some ways to crack the airtight defense they faced in the second. Ron Jackson scored five quick points, one field goal from two feet, the second from 20. Smyrna began collecting offensive rebounds, and they caused a few Sals turnovers, and they took advantage of the extra opportunities.
They closed the quarter on a 10-2 run over the final 4:15, including triples from Majesti Carter and Elijah Credle, and the Sals led by just eight, 51-43, after three quarters.
Smyrna closed to within six at 59-53 with 1:42 to go on two Nahshon Sylvester free throws, but the Sals were a perfect eight for eight from the line down the stretch. Vaughan made four of those, and Caulk and Brown made two each.
Caulk led the Sals with 18. The others in double figures were Brown (16), Regan (12) and Vaughan (11). Salesianum (9-5) plays at home against Brandywine on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Sylvester paced the Eagles with 15, and Jackson added 13. Smyrna (6-10) lost for the fourth time in its last five games and will return to the court Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Milford.