When the 2012-13 edition of the Salesianum boys basketball team takes the floor this coming December, not only will the team have a new head coach, but new locker rooms and a renovated gym as well.
As 24-year head coach Mike Gallagher announced his retirement effective at the end of this season, the Sals wanted to send their coach out in style and were able to get him a tournament win, defeating Campus Community 70-53 in the DIAA first round Wednesday night.
“We’ve had a nice break since our last game, so we were prepared,” said senior guard Chris Augustynowicz, who scored a team-high 19 points in Sallies’ eighth straight win overall. “We want to get Coach as far in the tournament as we can.”
“I told our guys that this is our last time to come into this locker room, say our team prayer and walk out as a team,” Gallagher said. “It’s great that in the 100th year of Salesianum basketball and this locker room, which has been around for 55 years, that this is the last team to walk out and win.”
Augustynowicz helped Salesianum jump out to a 21-4 lead after one quarter with 10 points, most coming on fast break lay-ups after forcing Campus Community to turn the ball over.
Sallies cruised the rest of the way although Gallagher felt they let up in the last three quarters.
“We only shot 14 of 33 from the free throw line, so the lead could have been bigger,” he said. “We didn’t play as well as we could after the first quarter.”
Gallagher is aware that the Sals will have to step it up Friday night when they visit third-seeded Newark in the tournament’s second round.
“They have a lot of talent with [Andre] Horne, David Grinnage and Taylor Reynolds throws passes just as good as if he still had a helmet on,” Gallagher said. “We’re going to have to play at our best and be at our best to win.”
And for Augustynowicz, one of seven seniors on the team, they want to win for their coach, who they all consider a father figure.
“He’s always been there for me. He teaches us about life, not just basketball,” he said. “Coach is a good coach and a good man.”
E-mail Chris Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org