WILMINGTON — Salesianum got back into the winning column on Dec. 20, treating a near-capacity Silent Night crowd to a stellar defensive effort in a 50-37 win over Newark Charter.
Each season, Sallies holds Silent Night, and the student section, along with many of the other fans, will not cheer until the Sals score their seventh point. The school combines a charitable effort into the festive atmosphere, and a win is always an added bouns. This year, the students presented a check for $3,000 to the Sunday Breakfast Mission. They also sold baked goods and held a halfcourt shooting contest at halftime to raise more money.
Of course, the focus of the team is on the game, and early on it appeared as if neither team was looking for a win. The first quarter ended in an 8-8 tie, and it took nearly the entire eight minutes before Rasheen Caulk scored on a transition layup to draw the Sals even at 8, sending the students into a frenzy as they were finally allowed to cheer.
Sallies took control in the second, when two Patriots starters — Brett Lesher and Marvin Nwanekwu — spent much of the quarter on the bench with foul trouble. That removed Newark Charter’s biggest inside presence (Nwanekwu) and leading scorer (Lesher) out of the action.
Before the Sals made their move, however, the Patriots took one final lead. Brett Callahan made a nice diving stop of a loose ball, passed to Khalil Proctor from the seat of his pants, and Proctor connected on a contested layup to make it 10-8 Newark Charter.
The Sals responded on their next possession. Justin Molen missed a six-footer, but he grabbed his own rebound and fed Tommy Montooth in the corner. Montooth hit a three-pointer to restore a one-point advantage for Salesianum. After a turnover, Montooth took a tipped rebound from Charles Parson at the top of the key and nailed another triple. Salesianum turned a blocked shot by Jack Healey into a three-pointer by Justin Molen. After a steal, A few possessions later, Molen fed Hanson after a Sals steal, and Hanson drained another triple. That put the lead at eight points, and it was 23-16 at the half.
Lesher returned as the second half opened, and he promptly nailed a three-pointer. After a Sals miss, Nwanekwu hit a short jumper to bring the Patriots to within two. But the Sals had answers. The strong defense continued, and the offense kicked into gear. Ethan Hinds got it started with a third-chance field goal.
Caulk hit his lone three of the night to push the lead to 28-22, and after a miss by the Patriots, Caulk found Sam Walsh alone in the corner for another triple. In the final 100 seconds of the third, Molen converted an old-fashioned three-point play and, after a steal by Caulk, connected from the top of the arc for three. Montooth beat the buzzer with his third three-pointer of the night, and the lead was 12 heading into the fourth.
Caulk did all of Sallies’ scoring in the fourth, tallying 10 points, including two three-point plays. The Patriots could not make a serious dent in the Sals’ lead.
Caulk led the way for Salesianum with 18 points, 13 of those in the second half. Molen had 11, and Montooth had three of the team’s eight three-pointers for a total of nine points. The Sals (2-4) take on City College on Dec. 27 in Baltimore.
For the Patriots, Lesher finished with 13 and Proctor with 10. Newark Charter fell to 4-2 and is off until Jan. 9, when Archmere visits for a 6:15 p.m. start.