Playing a state tournament basketball game at Salesianum on a late Saturday afternoon in 2013 is “No joke! No pope!” State championship banners - the most in Delaware and all boys' - rim the gym. There are 100 years of tradition in the house with graduates going back to the 1950s in the stands. Sallies and its fans are always up for the battle, the higher the stakes, the more frenzied the focus.
Cape, the Henlopen Conference champion, got off to s slow start, down 17-7 at the quarter, but battled back to trail 33-30 with five minutes left in the third quarter.
But Sallies, behind sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo with 20 and junior center Brian O’Neill with 17, kept up the pressure with DiVincenzo throwing down two dunks on fast breaks, further jazzing the home crowd.
Cape wilted down the stretch, losing 64-49 to close out the season 14-9 while Salesianum, 18-3, will move on to face Newark, a 55-50 upset winner over Saint Andrew's in the quarterfinals.
Cape’s Tyreik Burton scored 19 points in the game including four 3-pointers, and Toney Floyd came off the bench to score 11. But starters Jon Warren, Gekwan Pritchett and T.T. Hazzard combined for just 6 points; that left Cape 15 short at the end of the game.
Nick Perugino, a Rehoboth kid who starred as an eighth-grader at Eagle's Nest, is now a senior at Sallies; he scored 12 in the game including two 3-pointers.
Post-game quotes: Coach Steve Re: "That was my first time at Sallies, and I was impressed with their overall commitment to education and athletics. That place seems to have a great history of excellence.
When teams set goals at the beginning of the year, most teams never reach them. Only one team reaches their final goal of winning a state title. Our top goals were:
1. Win the Northern Division
2. Compete for the Henlopen Conference title - we won it!
3. Get in the state tournament
4. Anything can happen once you're in the tournament - compete for a state championship.
“To reach three out of four goals is pretty good. It may not have always looked good, but we accomplished them anyway. We made some great progress this season with our competitive greatness as athletes and maturity as a young men. We are not yet at the level of the upstate teams with fundamentals, strength and constancy. We are much closer than we were a year ago and will continue to close that gap. We will continue to schedule as tough as possible to help us get to that level. If our guys commit to off-season workouts and conditioning like we did last summer and continue to attack our weakness to make them strengths, then we have an exciting future.”