WILMINGTON – The gymnasium at Salesianum School might be named after the late Oblate Father John Birkenheuer, but on Tuesday night, as he has done so many times over the past three and a half seasons, Donte DiVincenzo made it all his own.
The senior scored 25 points, including the 1000th of his storied career at Salesianum, as the Sals overwhelmed Tatnall, 64-37. The young Hornets stayed close for a quarter before the Sals – in particular DiVincenzo – established order and put the game away with a huge second quarter.
Tatnall got off to a flying start thanks to senior Nick Cutrona, who scored 10 points in the opening eight minutes. DiVincenzo matched that total, and the rest of the Sals outscored the rest of the Hornets by three as Salesianum led, 17-14, after one. Two of DiVincenzo’s first-quarter baskets were of the dunk variety. The first came when he attempted a pass inside. The ball was knocked down, but DiVincenzo followed it into the lane, picked it up and threw down a two-handed jam. Then, with just a few seconds to go, the Villanova recruit again went with the high-percentage shot, much to the delight of the students seated at that end of the floor.
DiVincenzo picked up where he left off in the second. The team’s first four points of the second both came when DiVincenzo followed his own misses with easy follow-up buckets. The horn blew following the second one, and the game was stopped briefly as DiVincenzo was recognized as the sixth 1,000-point scorer in Salesianum history. Two of the other five, Dan Stroud and Gene Delle Donne, joined him on the floor, as did his parents and brother.
He would score 13 in the second and 23 in the first half as the Sals asserted themselves. They dominated on the boards, and the Sals also got scoring from freshman Paul Brown, who picked up six points in the quarter. DiVincenzo ended the second quarter in much the same fashion as the first, taking a long inbounds pass from freshman Jamal Whittlesey and stuffing the ball home just before the buzzer.
The pace slowed considerably in the second half as Salesianum coach Brendan Haley used his bench extensively, and the number of fouls picked up, leading to a host of free-throw attempts by both teams.
Ten players scored for Salesianum (5-5). Brown was the other to reach double figures with 12. The Sals, who have won four consecutive games, are at Lower Merion (Pa.) High School on Saturday to meet Philadelphia’s Martin Luther King at 3:30 p.m. in the Kobe Bryant Classic.
Cutrona paced the Hornets (1-8) with 19, while Ian Cella-Hoffman had nine.