WILMINGTON — Salesianum started slowly on the offensive end, but the Sals found the groove from the field and defeated Smyrna, 69-46, on Jan. 28 at Father John Birkenheuer Memorial Gymnasium. It was the third straight win for the Sals over an opponent ranked in the Delaware Live/302Sports top 10; the Eagles came in ranked 10th.
The game was more than four minutes old before Isaiah Hynson hit a mid-range jumper to cut the Smyrna lead to 5-2. After Kevin Woodruff scored, the fifth-ranked Sals scored six straight for a one-point lead, Lish Gregory’s six points in the first helped Smyrna to an 11-10 lead after one.
The game changed quickly in the second. Quinn O’Hara took a pass in the right corner from brother Brett, and his three ball gave the Sals a 13-11 lead, their first of the afternoon. Devin DeMoe answered with a triple of his own, but the Sals stayed hot from deep. Brandon Baffone hit from the other corner, and after a turnover, Justin Molen connected from distance from the top of the circle. After DeMoe scored a two, Brett O’Hara nailed a deep three to put the hosts ahead, 22-16.
Brett O’Hara took advantage of the cushion given to him his next trip down the floor, hitting a floater to extend the lead to eight. Hynson then got into the act, becoming the fifth different Salesianum player with a three-pointer as the lead reached double digits. Another steal by Molen ended with a two-handed flush by the senior, extending the Sals’ run to 12-0. They led at the half, 35-21, after a buzzer-beating reverse following an offensive rebound by Dariyon Williams.
Smyrna found some energy at the half, and the Eagles got six straight to open the third from Gregory, including a three-pointer that cut the Salesianum lead to 35-27. Molen, however, stopped that run on a second-chance shot after Gregory had rejected his first offering.
Sallies tightened up its defense, and they played evenly with the Eagles on the scoreboard the rest of the third. Smyrna was able to make just one field goal in the fourth, although it was impressive. Gregory grabbed a missed three-point attempt in mid-air and threw down an impressive dunk in front of the Sallies student section.
But the last nine points of the day for the Eagles came from the free throw line. The Sals, meanwhile, began their fourth quarter with another Hynson three after a minute ran off the clock. Williams was a force inside, scoring eight points in the fourth. Coach Taylor Trevisan was able to go deep into his bench, and sophomore Patrick McGuinn scored on a put back for his first varsity points.
Williams and Hynson each scored 14 points for the Sals, with Molen adding 11. Eleven different players scored for Salesianum, which won its fourth straight to improve to 5-6. The Sals travel to No. 6 Appoquinimink on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. tip.
For Smyrna, Gregory had 21 points, and DeMoe scored 10. The Eagles (7-4), who had a five-game winning streak stopped, play their fourth consecutive road game on Tuesday at Caesar Rodney. Tip is at 6:30 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.