Salesianum basketball team traveled to Cape Henlopen High School Wednesday night to play the College Achieve Public Charter Phoenix’s at the 2023 Slam Dunk to the Beach. After suffering a tough out of state loss last weekend to Archbishop Wood in Warminster, PA, the Sals bounced back with a 74-71 win over in state rival Appoquinimink HS exactly a week ago tonight. Their opponent at Slam Dunk came into the game ranked number 12 on the NJ.com’s list of top boys’ basketball program in the state of New Jersey despite this being their inaugural season. The squad out of Asbury Park tried their best to send a message early, pounding the ball inside to try to take advantage of their size but Sallies was not having it.
The Sals ran out to an early 8-2 lead on back to back 3-point shots just before the 5:30 mark of the 1st quarter. Sallies continued to rain down 3’s throughout the quarter making 4 of 9 from behind the arc, but lossed the rebounding battle underneath. The inside-out play of College Achieve provided them multiple opportunities on the offensive end, securing a 23-16 lead after one quarter.
What seemed like a manageable deficit after the first became increasingly larger as the Phoenix’s received contributions from multiple players, none more noticeable than Freshman Anthony Mauro, who dropped 9 in the quarter and served as the catalyst for their 17 point lead with 2:35 to go in the half. With RJ Johnson serving as the sole inside presence for the Sals, College Achieve stayed in a 2-3 zone for the entire half, forcing the Delaware team to settle for outside shots. Sallies trimmed the lead to 43-32 going into halftime. Anthony Mauro led all scorers with 12.
Sallies came out in the 3rd quarter with some fight. Turnovers and good shooting from Isaiah Hinson helped the Sals cut the lead to 48-52 with 1:20 to go in the quarter. The 2-3 zone that gave Sallies fits in the 1st half became a non-factor as the Sals pushed the pace. They forced turnovers and scored in a number of different ways on the fast break, but College Achieve was able to hold a 52-50 lead with one quarter left to go.
With 5:30 to go in the game, Sallies tied the game on a 3-point field goal by Luke Brown. Back and forth they went for most of the 4th quarter with sloppy play from both squads. College Achieve held a 65-60 lead with 1:18. The well coached College Achieve ran down the shot clock on the ensuing possession until Sallies was forced to foul. Anthony Mauro knocked down two free throws with 16.7 to go, giving the Phoenix a 7 point lead. Sallies came down and made a quick two with 9.7 left and regained possession with 7.6 to go. College Achieve chose to foul and force Sallies to earn it at the line. After Hinds missed the first free throw, he chose to miss the 2nd on purpose but failed to hit the rim which casued a free throw violation and gave the ball back to the Phoenix.
College Achieve Public Charter held on to win by a score of 68-65 due in large part to the 32 points turnovers by Sallies throughout the game. Anthony Mauro and Jebron Harris scored 15 a piece to lead the Phoenix’s team to victory.
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