WILMINGTON — Salesianum got off to a strong start in its game Dec. 21 against Roman Catholic, but the visitors from Philadelphia used several runs to earn a 59-48 victory. The game was part of the Wilmington Play by Play Classic at the Chase Fieldhouse on the Wilmington Riverfront.
The Cahillites are perennial contenders in the Philadelphia Catholic League, reaching the semifinals of that tournament last season before winning the Pennsylvania Class 6A state championship. The roster features a pair of St. Joseph’s University commits in Xzayvier Brown and Anthony Finkley, as well as 6-7 sophomore big Shareef Jackson and former St. Elizabeth standout Jermai Stewart-Herring. None of that seemed to bother the Sals in the early going.
R.J. Johnson got the scoring started two minutes in, hitting a three-point shot for Salesianum. Brandon Baffone also nailed a three, and Kareem Thomas went inside for a field goal as the Sals opened up an 8-2 lead. The score was 10-4 before Roman Catholic began its first run.
Jackson went underneath to get the streak started, and Bob Cottrell scored in transition to cut the Sals’ lead to two. Will Felder then hit a scoop shot to tie things up. The run reached 10 points before Thomas took a feed from Aidan Montgomery and drained a three to make it 14-13 in favor of Roman after a quarter.
The Sals stayed close in the opening minutes of the second, with Montgomery putting them back on top with a short field goal. The lead changed hands twice, and a baseline jumper from Justin Hinds extended the Salesianum lead to 24-20 before the Cahillites started on their biggest point-scoring streak of the afternoon.
Finkley got it going with a free throw, and Roman’s intense full-court press resulted in two layups for Brown. Stewart-Herring drained a triple, and Jackson scored on a follow shot to push the run to 16 and give Roman a 34-24 lead. The Sals scored the final four points of the half to trail by six at the break.
The Cahillites came out in the third quarter with hot hands, scoring the first nine points of the second half. But this time, it was Sallies’ turn for a run, with Anthony Smith slashing his way to the hoop to get it started. By the time it ended, the Cahillites’ lead was down to seven.
Smith’s three-pointer from the top of the arc to open the fourth brought the Sals to within five at 47-42, but that was as close as they would get. Roman Catholic got contributions from a bunch of players as they held off all comeback attempts. Their final points of the game came from Stewart-Herring, who stuffed home his second dunk of the day.
Smith led the Sals with 13 points, and Baffone added nine. Salesianum (4-3) will play at Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Pa.) on Dec. 28 at 11:30 a.m.
For the Cahillites, Brown had 15, Jackson had 13, and Stewart-Herring went for 12.
All photos by Mike Lang.