Salesianum used its better height and team depth to full advantage in a 61-50 road victory over Smyrna Thursday night at the Eagles Coliseum.
The Sals, now 14-3 on the season, used nine different players on the hardwood before coach Brendan Haley was able to clear the bench in the closing minutes of the game. The victors were led in scoring by 6-ft-6-in. Brian O'Neill, who totaled 22 points and Anthony Reed and Donte DiVincenzo who each scored 12 points. The Sals also dominated on both ends of the board due to their overall size and bulk of their forwards.
Despite the loss, Smyrna coach Mike Starkey said his young Eagles played hard for all 32 minutes. "I was very proud of their effort tonight. We could have folded and given them an easy 20-point or more victory, but that didn't happen. We had a good third quarter and made them work for their victory," he said.
The Eagles got off to a slow start, scoring only 5 points in the first quarter due to two factors: poor shooting and the Sals' pressure defense. Smyrna shot a little better in the second quarter, but still trailed 34-19 at the end of the first half.
The home team also had a little trouble at the foul in the first half, and that problem also followed the team deep into the second half, when they missed 4 out of 5 in the final period.
In the third quarter, the Eagles made a nice run, closing the gap to 45-40, but the Sals hit an important three-pointer before the buzzer.
The crowd rose to their collective feet when J Worthy hit a trey to start the fourth quarter, but Salesianum would gradually pull away, empty the bench, and take home the hard-earned 61-50 victory.
"It's tough when you play a top-five team," said Starkey, "We played a lot of young guys tonight, including several freshman, but again, I'm proud that we played very hard, even when the outcome was no longer in doubt."
Freshman Charlie Taylor led the Eagles in scoring with 12 points, Javon Hunter had 9, Latrelle Lee added 8 and Jacob Stoner had 7 points.
Smyrna has three straight home games on the schedule. On Saturday Feb. 9 they host Cape Henlopen beginning at 6:15 p.m. On Monday, they play against St. Andrews at 7:15 p.m., and then finish up the home-stand against Sussex Central on Wednesday, February 13, starting at 7:15 p.m., on Senior Night. The Sals have won 8 of their last 9 games, and their next game is Tuesday, Feb. 12 against Archmere Academy, in Claymont.
Davis 1 0-0 3
DiVincenzo 5 2-3 12
Perugino 2 0-0 6
Page 2 of 2 - O'Neill10 2-4 22
Reed 4 0-0 12
Harrar 3 0-0 6
Totals:25 4-7 61
Hunter 3 2-3 9
Goode 1 1-2 3
Bradley 2 0-0 4
Taylor 5 2-5 12
Worthy 1 2-4 5
Jubilee 1 0-0 2
Stoner 3 2-4 8
Totals: 19 9-18 50
Sal 7 (Reed 4, Perugino 2, Davis)
Smy 3 (Hunter, Worthy, Stoner)