WILMINGTON – Salesianum School honored its eight senior basketball players before Sunday night’s game vs. Archmere, then got down to business for a 62-50 win in front of another sellout crowd at Father John Birkenheuer Gymnasium.
The Sals started four seniors against the Auks – along with junior guard Donte DiVincenzo – and reserves Nicholas Palumbo, who drilled a three-pointer, and Casey Morgan, with two points, helped them to a 13-12 lead after one quarter. But an 11-0 run to begin the second quarter paved the way to a 15-point halftime lead and the 17th win for Salesianum against just two losses this season.
Seven Salesianum players scored during the second quarter; senior Joe McCusker led the way with six. One of McCusker’s baskets came on a reverse layup with the assist to DiVincenzo on a no-look backdoor pass after Archmere’s Michael Ford ended the Salesianum scoring run with a free throw. When they weren’t scoring, the Sals were smothering Archmere with a man-to-man defense and using their height inside to block or alter shots and outrebound the visitors by a healthy margin.
The lead continued to grow after halftime as the Sals’ three highest scorers – DiVincenzo, McCusker and Brian O’Neill – put up six apiece in the third, giving the team a 56-33 advantage heading into the fourth. Archmere cut the lead to 13 in the first three and half minutes of the final quarter against a team of Salesianum reserves, prompting Salesianum coach Brendan Haley to get his starters back on the floor to end any thoughts of an Auks comeback.
DiVincenzo led all scorers with 17 points, while McCusker added 15 and O’Neill 10. For Archmere, Christian Conaty was the high man with 15, with Burns going for 14.
The Sals complete the regular season on Tuesday at Wilmington Friends at 5:30 p.m. Archmere, which fell to 15-4, will visit Wilmington Christian on Tuesday at 6 p.m.