WILMINGTON – Despite rumors that he might not be ready, Donte DiVincenzo was in uniform and started for Salesianum on Friday afternoon at sold-out Howard, but the Villanova signee’s contributions weren’t enough to help the defending state champions stave off a 59-52 defeat at the hands of the Wildcats.
Howard held the high-scoring DiVincenzo in check for much of the game, and the Wildcats showed they will be one of the contenders for Salesianum’s trophy come March. Howard continually went to the drive and kick, and four players scored in double figures against the Sals. Two of those were sophomores, who complemented the senior-heavy roster. Kineph Turner, one of the sophomores, led the way with 17 points. He said he was “a little nervous” coming into the opener, “but I knew I had to get in the gym and get ready for this game.”
Turner scored five points and senior Justin Cunningham seven in the first quarter, when the Wildcats took an 18-10 lead. They scored the first basket of the second quarter, stretching the lead to 10, before Salesianum scored all eight of its second-quarter points consecutively to cut it to 20-18. Howard responded, however, with a nine-point run of its own to take a 29-18 advantage into the locker room.
Howard continued the assault after intermission, taking advantage of too many lazy passes and missed shots by the Sals to go ahead by as many as 14 at 36-22. DiVincenzo came alive in the fourth, when he poured in 15 of his game-leading 21 points, but the Sals could not overcome the efforts of Turner and Elias Revelle, the other sophomore on the floor for Howard, who combined for 15 of Howard’s 19 points in the final stanza. The closest they would get to the lead was seven points, which happened on several occasions.
Revelle finished with 14 points, and the Wildcats (1-0) also received double figures from seniors Jakir Stewart (12 points) and Cunningham (10). They travel to Concord on Wednesday for a 5:15 tip against the Raiders.
Shane Clark was the other player to reach double figures for Salesianum; he had 13. The Sals fell to 0-1 and will go for their first win Dec. 13 at home vs. William Penn. Game time is 7:30 p.m.