BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW Experienced group tries to continue success
It's always difficult replacing players a team lost from a year ago.
For the Salisbury boys basketball team, they'll be dealt the task of trying to replace two of the Colonial League's top players from a season ago in Brent Maron and Llyod Irons. Both were All-League selections and Irons was named the MVP. Max Simon also graduated and will be missed down low as well.
It will certainly be a team effort for the Falcons who won the league title last season by going 15-1 in conference play and fell in the District 11 2A semifinals against Shenandoah Valley to replace those key seniors. But for head coach Jason Weaver, the Falcons aren't looking at 2013 as a rebuilding year.
"We're not big so we're really going to have to play team basketball," said Weaver. "We're really going to have to work together in rebounding, controlling tempo and everything like that. The practices so far have been very positive. And I'm thinking this team can compete with anybody."
Led by a number of key seniors and juniors, the Falcons will return eight players that saw significant time at the varsity level last year. Senior guards Tyler Cooperman, Tyler Brown and Dan Reichenbach, as well as juniors Austin Uhl and Justin Aungst in the front court, figure to be a few of the main ingredients for the Falcons when they open their season on Friday.
"When you think about it our team is pretty experienced," said Weaver. "Our top eight guys have all played considerable varsity minutes. It's just trying to figure out who's going to be in what role and where guys fit together.
"Going into this year I think we're actually more experience than we were last year. Because other than Brent and Llyod, the rest of those guys didn't have much varsity experience. Now I have eight guys that have played a fair amount of varsity basketball.
One of the obvious key questions heading into the new season is the point guard position. Reichenbach has handled that duty throughout much of the offseason and will be looked upon to take over as the team's floor general.
"He was our two guard last year, and we that thought he was a good option filling in at the point guard spot for us and taking over there," Weaver said. "Over the summer he's gained more experience, and with the practices starting as well, he's sort of fit into that role. He's a student of the game so he knows when to make the right pass and when to attack himself. It's an adjustment, but I think he's handled it very well and I'm confident he's going to do well for us."
Juniors Brad Vangeli and Eddie Sanchez have continued to make strides over the summer into the preseason for the Falcons and will provide a spark for the team.
After enduring a season full of accomplishments a year ago, the Falcons' campaign came to a premature end in the district tournament. A year later, the team isn't thinking about what could've been, but rather what is in store for the next couple of months.
"It's not something that we talk about this year," said Weaver. "We came up short last year in a game that we were the favorites in, and we know we had a shot to play for another championship. I think these guys are so focused on getting their own identity as a team, and going back out and competing again and hopefully have another chance at a championship."
Friday's matchup against Blue Mountain will kick off the 2013 season. Tipoff is slated for 7:15 p.m. at Blue Mountain High School. The Falcons will open their league schedule on December 11 when they host Palisades at 7 p.m.