WILMINGTON — Salesianum and Howard found themselves in a tense battle on the evening of Dec. 12, with one of the teams destined to pick up its first victory. The Sals made 11 of 18 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and held off the determined Wildcats in a 61-52 victory at Birkenheuer Gymnasium.
The Sals held a 31-21 lead at halftime, and Salesianum’s Rasheen Caulk outscored Howard, 7-5, over the first few minutes of the third to push the advantage to 12, the home team’s largest of the night. But Howard refused to go away and kept things interesting the rest of the way.
De’Mere Hollingsworth hit a three-pointer, followed by another field goal, to make it 38-31. Sallies’ Tommy Montooth turned a steal into an assist, feeding Ethan Hinds for a transition layup to put the Sals ahead, 44-36, with 1:45 left in the third. But the Wildcats scored the final four points of the third, the final two coming on Hollingsworth free throws, and it was a six-point Sals lead heading into the fourth.
Jahsir Gloster opened the final stanza with a baseline three-pointer, pulling Howard to within three at 46-43.
Caulk hit three of his first four free throws in the fourth, and when Hinds sank a putback, Salesianum’s lead was 51-45. But that was the Sals’ lone bucket of the final quarter until the final minute, and Howard was content to send the Sals to the line. Sallies missed their next three free throw attempts, and the Wildcats crept back into it.
Darius Brown’s follow shot brought the visitors to within 51-49, and they trailed again by two at 53-51 after a Gloster shot. Despite three more missed free throws, the Sals held, scoring nine of the game’s final 10 points. Caulk made his final four from the charity stripe.
While the main scorers in the second half were Caulk and Hinds, other Sals contributed to the first-half lead. Pat Methlie earned the start at forward, and he gave them an inside presence, scoring six points from in close during the first period. Methlie’s points accounted for six of an eight-point Salesianum run that gave them a 10-3 lead, which they would never lose.
Sallies quickly turned a 16-11 lead after one into an 11-point advantage as Caulk and Hinds hit consecutive old-fashioned three-point plays. But Salesianum’s offense went cold, going four and a half minutes without a bucket, allowing the Wildcats to stay in the hunt. Two late shots by Joey Montooth and Jack Healy pushed the halftime lead to double digits.
Caulk ended up with 22 points, half from the free throw line, where he made 11 of 15. Hinds also was in double figures with 18. The Sals (1-2) battle Bonner and Prendergast (Pa.) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Chester (Pa.) High School.
Gloster led the Wildcats with 19 points, while Hollingsworth and Dushon Daniels-Reynolds had 10 each. Howard fell to 0-4 and hosts A.I. DuPont on Tuesday at 4:45 p.m.