Sals hold off Spartans, 45-36, welcome top-ranked Sanford next


For The Dialog


WILMINGTON — The first meeting of Delaware’s Holy War went to the home team, as No. 2 Salesianum defeated fifth-ranked St. Mark’s, 45-36, in front of a sellout crowd Friday night on Broom Street.

Fans got a taste of what was to come on the first possession when St. Mark’s, whose game this past Tuesday at No. 1 Sanford was postponed because of the snow, took a 3-0 lead on a shot by T.J. Brown, only to have Shane Clark tie it on the Sals’ first offensive chance. Five points a piece from the Spartans’ Matt Williams and the Sals’ Joe McCusker left the game tied at 8, but a subsequent field goal by Salesianum junior Donte DiVincenzo gave the Sals a lead they would not relinquish.

Salesianum (10-2) receved another seven points from DiVincenzo in the second quarter, along with four from senior forward Brian O’Neill, and an unexpected three-pointer from senior Matt Sgro helped the team build its lead to 26-16 at the half.

After an even third quarter, the Spartans (8-2) used a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to four points at 36-32, causing some angst among the Salesianum faithful. All nine of Salesianum’s fourth-quarter points came from the free-throw line; the Sals finished 13 for 20 from the charity stripe, while St. Mark’s attempted just six freebies, hitting four.

DiVincenzo and O’Neill each scored 12 for the Sals, who rebounded from a tough loss Monday vs. Philadelphia power Constitution High. Clark added nine. For the Spartans, Williams led the way with 12, while Nick Papa had eight.

Salesianum has little rest before welcoming Sanford to Father Birkenheuer Gymnasium. The teams will battle Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m., with another sellout crowd expected. St. Mark’s hosts St. Elizabeth on Monday at 7:30. The Vikings are coming off an upset of No. 4 Archmere. St. Mark’s will honor retired athletic director Tom Rosa during the game.