WILMINGTON — For three and a half minutes on the evening of Dec. 8, the packed student section at Salesianum did not make a sound while their basketball team played St. Andrew’s in Birkenheuer Gymnasium. But when Brandon Baffone’s three-pointer swished through the net, they let loose with a loud, prolonged cheer.
It was the annual Silent Night at Sallies, where the students do not cheer until the Sals score their seventh point. Baffone and the Sals were just getting started, as they pulled away from the Saints for a 66-32 win.
The first minute and change had no points but a few turnovers, but the Sals’ Isaiah Hynson got started on a big game by hitting on a drive to the hoop to put his team on the board first. Rhaki Lum answered for the Saints, but the Sals went ahead for good with a 13-1 run that included not only Baffone’s three, but triples from Hynson and Brendan Black as well.
Salesianum scored the first seven points of the second quarter as the Saints struggled to keep possession of the ball. The Sals also played some defense, with James Laur getting a rise from the near-capacity crowd with a big block that prompted a St. Andrew’s timeout.
After taking a 27-8 lead, the Sals’ offense went cold, and the Saints cut into the lead. Lum hit a triple late in the half to extend the St. Andrew’s run to 7-0, and the Sals’ lead at the half, 12 points, was the same as after the first quarter.
Sallies erased all doubt in the third. They outscored the Saints in the period, 21-4, and turned some great defense into points. Twelve of the Sals’ points came in the final two minutes. Hynson started that stretch with a left-handed hook, then hit a three-pointer 10 seconds later after a steal.
Justin Hinds took the spotlight next. He scored on a follow shot while taking a bump, then stuffed a ball the next time down the court. After a Sals steal, Hinds went up for a two-handed jam. A Zach Swartout three ended the quarter.
Unofficially, Hynson led the way with 16 points. He was joined in double figures by Swartout with 13, Black with 12, and Hinds with 10. The Sals (1-1) are home on Saturday, when they play Rock Creek Christian Academy (Md.) at 5:15 p.m.
For the Saints, Lum had 12, and Noah Tuveson added 10. St. Andrew’s (0-2) — whose first two games were against the state champion and the runner-up from last season — holds its home opener on Monday at 5:15 p.m. against Wilmington Christian.
All photos by Jason Winchell.