For The Dialog
WILMINGTON – The Salesianum basketball team opened its season Saturday night ready to prove to the state that it has what it takes to compete for – and win – a state championship. The first opponent was defending state champion Howard, which brought its rebuilding project to a sold-out gym.
The Sals (1-0) were without 6-7 center Brian O’Neill, but it didn’t matter as they rolled to a 60-41 win. Junior guard Donte DiVincenzo, who is being recruited by several major Division I universities, led the way with 24 points.
Salesianum jumped out early behind DiVincenzo and 6-9 junior J.T. Harrar. DiVincenzo scored six of the Sals’ 18 first-period points, giving the home team a seven-point lead, which was extended to 10 by halftime.
The third quarter was the difference, as Salesianum outscored the Wildcats, 21-7. Joe McCusker scored all eight of his points in the quarter, including back-to-back three-pointers. DiVincenzo added seven, two coming on a thunderous dunk in traffic that brought the crowd to its feet.
Salesianum hosts Father Judge (Pa.) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., while Howard (0-1) is home vs. Concord Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. (weather permitting).