MIDDLETOWN — Salesianum forced overtime with a three-point shot at the end of regulation, then took control in the extra session on the way to a 74-71 win at Appoquinimink on Dec. 20. The Sals ended a two-game losing streak with the victory.
For a while in the third quarter, it looked as if four quarters would be enough. R.J. Johnson drove into the lane and scored with the left hand off the glass to make it 43-34 Sals with 5:12 remaining in the third. But the Jags turned the momentum and the scoreboard over the next several minutes.
Dillon Griffith got the Jaguars started, taking a ball nearly the length of the floor for a slashing layup with 4:32 left in the third. Kaleb Ra’ifa then nailed a three-pointer the next time down the court. Ra’lfa scored again after the Jags grabbed two offensive rebounds, and Appo trailed by just two.
After a Sals turnover, Ra’lfa struck again, this time tying the game with a layup at the 2:50 mark. He ran his own personal scoring streak to nine with a long two from the top of the circle, giving Appoquinimink the lead and invigorating the large crowd.
A three-pointer by Salesianum’s Isaiah Hynson with a minute to go ended the Jags’ streak at 11-0 and put the Sals back on top by a point heading into the fourth.
The teams traded the first five field goals and the lead over the first four minutes of the fourth, but a Riley Buzby scoop shot put Appoquinimink on top by three, 53-30, with about three minutes remaining. Forty seconds later, Buzby’s corner three doubled the lead. A floater by Ra’ifa with 1:50 to go extended the lead to eight.
Hynson hit a three out of a timeout, but the Jaguars still led by five with 1:11 to go. The Sals forced an Appo turnover, and Justin Hinds went baseline for a dunk with 42 seconds remaining. The Jaguars had a chance to make it a two-possession game with 14.8 seconds to go, but they missed two free throws, giving the Sals an opening. Appo had four fouls to give, and they used them to force the Sals to run off as much of the remaining time as possible.
Finally, the Sals inbounded under their offensive bucket. The ball got to Zach Swartout, who hit Kareem Thomas in the corner in front of the Sals’ bench. Hynson set a screen, and Thomas nailed the triple with 2.2 seconds left.
Given a second chance, the Sals went on the offensive in overtime. Hinds hit a fadeaway jumper to begin a 6-0 run to start the OT. Four free throws got the Jags back in it, but the Sals made six free throws down the stretch and earned a hard-fought win.
Thomas and Hynson each had 18 for the Sals, with Hinds adding 14 and Johnson 13. The team was 13 of 15 free throw attempts. Salesianum (2-2) will face College Achieve Public Charter (N.J.) on Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. at Cape Henlopen High School as part of Slam Dunk to the Beach.
Four Jaguars scored in double figures, led by Daniel Harvey with 24. The others were Ra’lfa (20), Buzby (14) and Griffith (10). Appo (2-1) is off until Dec. 29, when they meet Bethlehem Catholic (Pa.) in the Viking Invitational at the St. E Center. Tipoff is at 3 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Nick Halliday.