WILMINGTON — Salesianum held a 10-point lead over the Bullis School (Md.) late in the third quarter of the teams’ basketball matchup Dec. 19 at Father John Birkenheuer Gymnasium, but the wheels fell off for the Sals after that. The visiting Bulldogs finished out the third strong, then overwhelmed the Sals on their way to a 66-61 victory.
A balanced scoring attack helped the Sals expand their 27-24 halftime lead. Five different players scored. Rasheen Caulk opened the scoring with a runner, and Pat Methlie converted an and-one that made it 32-26. Ethan Hinds twisted for a reverse layup, and Caulk hit another field goal. The lead grew to its largest, 11 points, at 42-31 on a Tommy Montooth three-point shot with a slick assist to Methlie.
The lead was 44-34 with about a minute remaining in the third when the fortunes began to swing. Erik Reynolds scored for Bullis, and after a turnover, Reynolds converted an old-fashioned three-point play with no time on the clock to bring the Bulldogs to within five as the fourth quarter began.
Caulk extended the lead to seven by scoring the first bucket of the stanza, but it was the Bulldogs’ night after that. Bullis, out of Potomac, Md., went to an aggressive full-court press, causing Sallies to turn the ball over on six consecutive possessions. Rodney Rice hit a free throw, followed by a field goal from Reynolds. When Rice nailed a three, the score was 46-45.
Cole Hanin tied the game with a free throw, then, with 5:30 on the clock, untied it with a three-pointer. Hanin struck again after a Sals miscue with a transition layup, putting the Bulldogs up, 51-46. Caulk ended the 12-0 run with his own triple, but the Sals would get no closer. Bullis made 11 of 12 free throws in the closing minutes to seal the win.
The final quarter overshadowed an impressive performance out of the gate by the Sals, who were at a height disadvantage against the Bulldogs. Sallies hit four three-pointers in the first — two by Montooth and one each by Justin Molen and Caulk — and they held Rice — a sophomore who is drawing interest from several high-major college teams — to just a single free throw.
Rice and Malcolm Alexander each hit a pair of triples in the second to help the Bulldgos climb back into the contest.
Caulk finished with 25 points to lead the Sals and was the only player in double figures. Ethan Hinds added nine. Salesianum (1-4) has little time to dwell on this one as they host Newark Charter on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Rice paced the Bulldogs with 24, while Reynolds, who is garnering interest from several mid-major college programs, had 19.