vs. Berkshire School
|Date:||December 6, 2017|
Four Players in Double Figures as Knights Collect 1st Win of Season
Salisbury mustered an array of firepower not seen in the season’s first three games to defeat visiting Berkshire and capture their home opener on Wednesday afternoon, 75-61. The comfortable winning margin belies the acute discomfort the Knights and their fans felt as the team jumped out to a commanding 18-2, built that advantage to 23 points, and then watched the Bears claw their way back to within 6 points and 4:30 still showing on the game clock. The team seemed on the brink of a colossal collapse.
But behind the calm play-making of point guard Bryce Daley, the team settled down, started plugging the lane to prevent the drives that had helped Berkshire get back in the game, and pulled away in the closing minutes. Daley finished with 15 points, while sophomore Brandon Roughley led the Knights with 23. Two other players stepped up their games to post career highs, with Dylan Sanchez producing 16 points and reserve Gilchrist Gasana pouring in 11.
Gasana, in particular, was a revelation. Shortly after entering the game in the first half, the 6’4” senior brought the crowd to its feet when his first shot from beyond the arc on the right side caught nothing but net. On the next possession, Gasana found himself open from the same spot, collected a pass from an observant teammate, and dropped another rainbow for three points. Gasana’s third shot: more of the same, for his third trifecta of the game. The offensive success seemed to inspire Gasana to further acts of derring-do on the defensive end of the floor, as he was suddenly crashing the boards for rebounds, collecting a steal, and picking up a loose ball. It was the kind of contribution from the bench that had been missing here in the early weeks of the season.
While their stat-lines might not have the neon lights that frame Gasana’s performance, two other players also made key contributions off the bench. Sophomore Parker Stone showed purposeful movement, alert defense, and opportunistic play-making on both ends of the floor, while Justin Oliveras, another sophomore, showed an ability to move opposing bodies away from the rim and provided one of the game’s most electrifying moments when, midway through the second half, he raced downcourt to catch up with a fast-breaking opponent and then, from behind, went airborne to pulverize the attempted shot, which slammed off the wall beneath a gallery of whooping fans.
“We certainly made it interesting,” deadpanned coach Harlan Dodson after the game. “However,” he continued, “we regrouped and held on.”
The Knights (1-3) return to action at home on Saturday night against always-dangerous Trinity-Pawling. The Pride (2-1) are coming off a 25-point mauling of Westminster on Wednesday afternoon. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 at the Flood Center.