ST. GEORGES – Salesianum came out on fire in its battle against Sanford in the quarterfinal round of the DIAA boys basketball tournament on March 2. But the Sals’ torrid shooting cooled after the first quarter, and the Warriors, behind the all-around skills of Jyare Davis, showed why they are the top seed in a 59-40 win at a sold-out St. Georges Technical High School.
Darnell Vaughan got the eighth-seeded Sals started with a turnaround jumper on his way to a seven-point first quarter. Sallies held its own on the boards against the state’s tallest team, and Max Ferrante swished three three-point shots as he and Vaughan combined for 16 points. The Sals, however, got into early foul trouble, and Sanford hit five of seven free throws in the quarter. Still, Salesianum led, 17-10, after one.
Neither team shot particularly well in the second, and when Sean Regan connected for the Sals two and a half minutes in, they still had a 19-14 advantage. Those were the team’s last points until 50 seconds remained, and in the meantime, the Warriors found some range.
Davis, the all-state swingman, made one of two free throws midway through the quarter, but he followed the miss with his own rebound and putback to make it 19-18. Corey Perkins followed a Salesianum turnover with a triple, giving Sanford its first lead. Rasheen Caulk went coast to coast to tie the score at 21 in the last minute, but the Warriors gained the halftime lead on another Perkins field goal.
Vaughan opened the third quarter with a nifty scoop shot, knotting the score one last time, but that would be the Sals’ lone field goal of the quarter. It was mostly Davis’ show after that. The Warriors regained the lead on an Njoku dunk, and after a Salesianum free throw, Davis nailed a triple, and Ryan McKeon scored on a putback to extend the lead to 30-24.
Davis added another field goal after a Sallies timeout, and he added two more triples before the stanza ended. He finished with 15 points in the third, which ended with a steal and reverse layup by Carter Ruby and another Davis three. The score was 44-26 at that point, and the Sals would not seriously challenge the rest of the way. Rasheen Caulk did find a shooting touch in the fouth, hitting two field goals – a three-pointer and a two-pointer – and three free throws. The highlight for Sanford in the fourth was a thunderous alley-oop finish by Njoku, bringing the capacity crowd to its feet.
Vaughan and Caulk each scored 11 points to pace the Sals. They finished the season with a record of 12-10.
Davis led the Warriors with 32, with 26 of those coming in the second half. Perkins went for 10. Sanford (18-4) will meet No. 5 St. Georges in the semifinals on Thursday at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark at 8 p.m.
In other quarterfinal action, No. 10 St. Mark’s fell to the second seed, Dover, 57-47. The Senators remained undefeated at 22-0 and will meet Caravel at the Bob at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Spartans finished at 17-6.