Home Local Sports Salesianum basketball jumps to big lead, defeats Tower Hill: Photo gallery

Salesianum basketball jumps to big lead, defeats Tower Hill: Photo gallery

Kareem Thomas had another strong game on offense for the Sals. Dialog photo/Jason Winchell

WILMINGTON — Salesianum’s basketball team might have moved on from last year’s state championship game loss to Tower Hill, but the Sals apparently have not forgotten the Hillers’ epic shooting performance that night last March.

The Sals came out on fire, running up and down the court, playing aggressively on offense and defense while overwhelming the Hillers. They led, 15-3, after one quarter and went on to a 65-51 on Feb. 2 victory inside Father Birkenheuer Gymnasium.

Salesianum’s student section was ready to go, and their team wasted no time going to work. After each team registered blocks on the opponents’ first two possessions, the Sals got on the board on a Kareem Thomas free throw. That was just a taste of what was to come. R.J. Johnson scored on a runout, and Justin Hinds went coast to coast after a rebound as the lead grew to 5-0. An R.J. Johnson steal and pass to Isaiah Hynson resulted in a slashing layup mere minutes into the contest.

Dylan Shepherd finally got Tower on the board with a runner at the 4:08 mark, adding a free throw after he was fouled, but that was the extend of the Hillers’ scoring in the first. Feeding off their defense, the Sals got a three ball from Thomas, then a third-chance field goal fron Hinds, and finally a baseline drive by Zach Swartout to set the tone for the evening.

The Sals’ offense continued humming in the second, with an alley oop from Anthony Young to Justin Hinds setting the stage early on. Salesianum continued to go inside in the second, with Hynson muscling his way inside on a few occasions and Aidan Montgomery getting loose along the baseline and taking a pass and dunking the ball to extend the lead to 34-16.

The Hillers got the offense in gear in the second, putting up 18 points. Eight of those came on free throws thanks to an active Sals defense. They added four field goals, two of which were three-pointers by Dylan Shepherd. He finished with 10 in the quarter, but the Sals led, 39-21, at the break.

Kevin Coleman scored for the Hillers to open the second half, but the Sals’ offense picked up where it left off in the second. Hinds answered Coleman with a three, and Thomas took a rebound the length of the court for a layup. Hynson brought the crowd to its feet with a monster left-handed dunk, and Thomas ended a 12-4 run and the third quarter with another triple that pushed the lead to 24 entering the fourth.

The Sals cooled off in the fourth, and the Hillers — primarily Dean Shepherd — steadily paraded to the free throw line as they ate into the lead. Dean Shepherd went 6-for-6 in the beginning of the quarter, and a short time later, Anthony Muscelli scored off a feed from Daniel Somerville to cut the Hillers’ deficit to 13. Four more Dean Shepherd free throws and one field goal later, they got as close as 11, but too little time remained to complete the comeback.

Unofficially, Thomas led four Sals in double figures with 18. Hinds and Hynson had 11 each, and Smith finished with 10. Sallies (9-6) continues its stretch against ranked teams when it faces Sanford on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Chase Fieldhouse to wrap up the SL24 UnLocke the Light Memorial Classic.

Dean Shepherd had 20 to place Tower, including a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line. Dylan Shepherd had 15. The Hillers (10-3) also play at UnLocke the Light, taking on Archmere at 2 p.m.

All photos by Jason Winchell.