Salesianum’s Paul Brown and Darnell Vaughan each scored 9 points, but the Sals had to overcome a rough free throw shooting performance, and a William Penn buzzer-beater shot for a 38-36 season-opening victory.
The Sals went 2-for-10 at the line, with the last miss coming with 5 seconds remaining. Carlos Dean grabbed the rebound for the Colonials, and raced to his offensive right elbow, but couldn’t get the jumper to go as time expired.
While both teams struggled at the line, they combined for 10 three-pointers in the game, including six by Salesianum.
William Penn’s Jordan Harding hit the first of the game as part of an 8-2 start. They’d maintain a 12-10 lead after the opening quarter.
Tarin Cochran’s three-pointer early in the 2nd quarter pushed the lead to 18-13, but William Penn didn’t score in the final 5:40 of the half, and three-pointers by Michael Wallace and Chris Cohill put Salesianum up 19-18 at the break.
Salesianum finished the 12-2 run early in the third quarter, but another Harding three-pointer helped tie the game at 29, before another Cohill three broke the tie going into the last 8 minutes.
Harding’s three-pointer cut the Colonials’ deficit to 33-32, but they would miss a pair of 1-and-1 free throw opportunities to tie or take the lead.
After three minutes without any offense, a steal and rebound lead to layups by Vaughan and Paul Brown to stretch the lead to five.
Once again, William Penn would fight back, getting to driving baskets by Cochran to get within 38-36 with 10.7 seconds left.
Salesianum missed a 1-and-1 free throw, but Brown picked up the offensive rebound.
Another missed set of free throws kept the game at 2, giving William Penn the chance for the tie or win, but the shot just missed.
Salesianum (1-0) holds its home opener next Tuesday against Newark Charter.
William Penn (0-1) gained 8 points from Dean, but a 6-for-16 free throw performance of their own prevented a win. They’ll host Hodgson Thursday at 5:15.