Sterling, Va. — It was a game of answers, and fortunately for the Dominion High School boys basketball team, they had enough of them. Led by sophomore guard Jakob Jude Salgado, the Titans fended off a few late runs by the Lightridge Lightning to earn a 63-50 win in their Dulles District opener on December 7 in Sterling.
“Wins are wins, and district wins are even better. It’s always great to start that way,” Dominion head coach Anthony Eifler said. “We lost two tough ones last week out of district, but I thought we had a chance to win. These guys are playing well together, and they’ve bought in.”[adrotate banner=”53″]
The Titans opened their 2022-2023 campaign with back-to-back losses on the road, but they felt their 59-54 loss to Riverside and their 73-66 loss to Stone Bridge were both winnable games. But thinking a game is winnable and actually winning are two separate things, so Salgado took things into his own hands down the stretch to give the Sterling-faithful a win in their home opener.
Every time the Lightning pulled within striking distance, it seemed to be Salgado who stepped up to make a play to keep the Lightridge threat at bay.
“When we move the basketball, we get good looks, and we score. When we dribble, dribble, dribble, we put our head down, we take bad shots, and then teams make runs on us,” Eifler said. “I don’t care who scores. It happened to be Jakob tonight, but as long as we have more points than the other team, I couldn’t care less who scores. That unselfishness is huge.”
Despite his game-high, 21-point performance, Salgado wasn’t the only option for Dominion as all nine Titans who played scored. Dominion also got 10 points, 6 rebounds from junior big man Shane MacMillan.
“We all have trust in each other to shoot the basketball,” Salgado said. “When your whole team is committed to scoring, it makes distributing the ball a lot easier.”
On the defensive end, Dominion had its hands full with Lightridge senior forward Cole Lechner and junior guard Carter Working, who finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 10 points, 2 rebounds, respectively.
But a defensive change at halftime forced Lightridge to make some bad decisions and settle for some bad looks which was ultimately their downfall.
“We played man the whole first half, so we went into a little zone in the second half to try to mix it up and force some traps just to confuse them a little bit,” Eifler said. “We have to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us, because we gave up too much dribble penetration for my liking.”
Dominion (1-0, 2-2) opens their league schedule at the top of the Dulles District, but the Titans know they’ll need to play together throughout the entire season, if they want to hold onto that top spot.
“Last year, we didn’t have the start we wanted, but our squad has looked really good to start this season,” Salgado said. “Everybody is playing with good chemistry right now. We’re just looking forward to having a good season.”
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