WILMINGTON – Salesianum School presented two sets of one-act plays Friday night. In the auditorium, it was the theatrical kind, while in the gymnasium, there were two athletic presentations: the two halves of basketball played between the Sals and St. Elizabeth High School.
After a slight delay caused by a partial power outage in the gym, the Sals nearly shot the lights out in the first half. The home team raced out to a 34-16 lead and could do little wrong. St. Elizabeth took the stage in the second half, mounting a furious comeback that came up a bit short, and the Sals pulled away for a 69-57 win in front of a loud sellout crowd that included a large number of St. Elizabeth students.
The first half stars were Nick Perugino and Donte DiVincenzo, who scored all but four of the Sals' points. Perugino had 10 first-quarter points and DiVincenzo six, while in the second quarter it was DiVincenzo who took the lead, with 11 points. The second quarter was essentially the difference in the game, as Salesianum (8-2) outscored the Vikings, 18-4.
“We were just clicking, that's all it was, working off each other. It was just a great team effort out there tonight,” Perugino said.
The Vikings (5-4) made just four field goals in the first half, three by senior forward Andre Patton. The Vikings scored another eight points on free throws in the half, keeping them within striking distance.
After intermission, St. Elizabeth took its turn in the spotlight. Fueled primarily by Patton but with a significant supporting cast, the Vikings began pressing the Sals and caused several turnovers, chipping away at the deficit. With the score 52-37 entering the final quarter, Sheldon Sorrell scored on a goaltending call. DiVincenzo left the game after picking up his fourth foul with 7:06 to play, and St. Elizabeth scored the next five points before Salesianum coach Brendan Haley put the sophomore back in the game. He ended the Vikings' point streak with a free throw, and the Sals were able to steady themselves.
Perugino was the leading scorer for the game with 25, while DiVincenzo had 22. Two of his baskets were dunks on successive possessions, both off steals. The second one was a give-and-go alley-oop from Perugino. Brian O'Neill added 15, all in the second half. It was Sallies' highest-scoring game of the season. Patton paced the Vikings with 22, including a baseline dunk after a steal. Piekarski had 12, all in the second half, and Ryan Cason scored nine.
Perugino said a key was limiting Patton's rebounds. “I know that's a big part of his game, getting offensive rebounds, getting shots back up and getting fouled and going to the line. We tried to shut that down the best we could.”
Patton did have 13 free-throw attempts, making eight. The Vikings struggled overall from the charity stripe, hitting just 15 of 29 attempts.
Salesianum is home on Tuesday vs. Tatnall. Tipoff is at 7:30. The Vikings play Thursday, welcoming top-ranked Sanford to the St. E Center at 5 p.m.