WILMINGTON — Salesianum’s basketball team apparently was happy to be back home. Playing in the Father Birkenheuer Gymnasium for just the third time this season, the Sals’ shots were falling as they snapped a two-game losing streak with a 78-52 win over Smyrna on Feb. 1. Their point total tied for the team’s highest this season.
The Sals began to pull away in the middle of the first quarter, getting solid shooting and defense to help them get there. A buzzer-beating runner at the end of the first quarter from Luke Brown put the Sals on top, 22-15.
That bucket was the start of a 16-4 run that put Salesianum in control. Jalen Williams scored on a follow shot for the Eagles that cut the Sals’ lead to 26-19, but Isaiah Hynson stuck a second-chance three-pointer on Salesianum’s next trip down the floor to spark a 10-0 run. Kareem Thomas followed that with a corner three, and then Thomas turned a steal into a transition rim-rattling dunk to bump the lead to 15. Thomas picked up an assist on the Sals’ next possession, feeding R.J. Johnson for a layup.
The Sals increased the pressure in the second half. Justin Hinds slammed down an alley oop from Hynson in front of the Sallies’ student section, and the team continued its hot shooting from outside. Hynson hit a pair of triples and Thomas another to counter two Smyrna threes as the teams combined to make five straight from distance. The lead grew as big as 21; the Sals entered the fourth up by 17.
The scoring slowed in the fourth. Defenses ruled until Hynson made a field goal two and a half minutes in, while Smyrna’s Logan Shaw answered with a nice follow shot 30 seconds later. Salesianum scored the final six points of the night, including another alley oop,
Final statistics were not available late Thursday night. Salesianum evened its record at 7-7 and will face Sanford on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the finale of the SL24 Memorial Classic at the Chase Fieldhouse.
Smyrna wraps up a four-game road trip with a game at Caesar Rodney on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.
Photos by Mike Lang.