WILMINGTON — Salesianum continued its run of games against ranked opponents on Feb. 3 when the team battled Tower Hill at Carpenter Fieldhouse. The place was packed, primarily with Hillers fans, with a nice contingent of Salesianum students, for the showdown between No. 5 Salesianum and No. 2 Tower, according to Delaware Live/302Sports.
The Sals ran their winning streak to six as Justin Molen scored 16 to help them to a 54-46 victory over the Hillers. It was the latest road win for a team that has beaten six ranked teams in a row, four on the road.
The Sals got off to a quick start, as Sam Walsh got the scoring started with a three-point shot, and Isaiah Hynson and Justin Molen each added field goals. A Walsh finger roll extended the lead to 11-2 and prompted a Tower timeout that seemed to help the Hillers. Walsh’s bucket was the Sals’ last of the quarter, and Anthony Muscelli III added two short buckets before the quarter’s end.
Salesianum opened the second by scoring eight straight points on corner threes by Brandon Baffone sandwiched around a two-point shot. The lead was 19-6, but the Hillers were just getting started.
Dyland Shepherd helped cut that deficit to 19-9 after rebounding a missed free throw by his twin, Dean, and putting it back in. Dylan Shepherd scored twice more during the quarter, and Kenyon Motley and Davis Bland added three-pointers to help Tower close the gap.
Bland cut the Salesianum lead to 27-25 on a layup with 30 seconds remaining in the half, but Hynson added a free throw in the closing seconds to put the Sals on top by a trio.
Sallies came out running after the half, and Molen scored twice on early shots, including one where he followed his own miss. Dylan Shepherd offset those with a three-pointer, but an inside bucket by Dariyon Williams gave the Sals a 38-28 advantage. Hillers coach Patrick Kaiser called a timeout with 3:24 left.
Dylan Shepherd continued his impressive evening with a stuff that brought the lead down to 40-34, but Molen hit four straight from the free throw line to send the advantage back to double digits heading into the fourth.
The Hillers scored four points in the first 90 seconds of the second, but after a Salesianum timeout, Sam Walsh got open for a layup. With the score 46-39, Tower Hill scored the next five, with a triple from Dylan Shepherd trimming the lead to two and sending the home fans into a frenzy. Hynson hit a big mid-range jumper to double the lead, but Motley got the crowd stirred up again with a twisting layup that once again brought Tower to within a pair at 48-46.
But alas, those would be the final points of the evening for the Hillers. Williams hit four free throws in the final few minutes, and Walsh scored on a put back.
Hynson and Walsh added nine each for Sallies. The Sals (7-6) take on another ranked opponent Saturday at 8 p.m. when they meet third-ranked Sanford at the SL24 UnLocke the Light Classic at the Chase Fieldhouse.
Dylan Shepherd scored 11 for the Hillers, who saw their seven-game winning streak stopped. Tower plays the final game of a six-game homestand on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Caesar Rodney.
All photos by Nick Halliday.