WILMINGTON — Salesianum held a seven-point lead over Dover entering the fourth quarter of their DIAA boys basketball quarterfinal on March 5 at Birkenheuer Memorial Gymnasium. The visiting Senators, however, stormed back, forcing overtime before the Sals escaped, 55-51.
The teams began the extra four minutes tied at 49, and they traded buckets early on. After a few empty possessions for both teams, the Sals regained possession with about a minute remaining.
Two missed shots were followed by offensive rebounds, which the Sals picked up all afternoon. Dariyon Williams collected the second board, and he fed Molen on the right wing, where the senior released a three-point shot with 42 seconds left. The sold-out gymnasium erupted when the shot went through, many rooting for the Sals, but also a large contingent who drove north to see the Senators.
After a timeout, Dover scrambled for a shot but missed a tying three-pointer, and the Sals snagged another rebound. Molen made the first of two free throws to extend the lead to four, but after he missed the second he tried to dive on the loose ball but fouled a Senator in the process, leaving the door open for an unlikely comeback.
The Senators missed both free throws, and the Sals’ Williams added a pair of free throws for the final margin.
Dover came in as the ninth seed against the top-seeded Sals, but the Senators were one of the state’s best teams this season. The Senators and Sals were close for all 36 minutes on Saturday.
It took 90 seconds for the first points to come, on a three-pointer from Salesianum’s Sam Walsh. Dover did not get a field goal until 3:05 remained, a 10-footer for Jaheim Harrell that cut the Sals’ lead to 5-3. The low-scoring first stanza ended with the Sals on top, 9-6.
The offenses got going in the second quarter, as the Senators and Sals combined for 39 points. After Deuce Mutts opened the frame with a follow shot, Dover’s Tyrone Tolson drained a triple. The Sals scored their next nine points from the free throw line, but the Senators gradually closed the gap.
As the Sals’ shooting cooled, the Senators capitalized. A three for Harrell put Dover on top for the first time at 21-20, a lead that eventually grew to four. Justin Hinds ended a five-minute drought with a nice back cut and pass from Molen, and after a Dover free throw, the Sals got hot as the half ended.
Isaiah Hynson hit a mid-range jumper, and Molen followed with a slash and drive for two. Hynson closed out the first half with a three at the buzzer, giving Sallies a 29-25 lead.
Hynson continued with the host shooting into the second half, opening the third with another three. The Senators stayed close because of four three-pointers in the quarter.
Molen led the way for the Sals with 19, while Mutts added 10. The Sals will face No. 4 Howard in the second semifinal on Thursday at the Bob Carpenter Center. The game is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. Howard defeated the Sals on Feb. 19.
Final statistics were not available for the Senators. Dover ended the season with a record of 18-4.
All photos by Jason Winchell.