Falcons take on Wilson in semi
Despite running through the Colonial League with just one loss, the Salisbury boys' basketball team had its share of tough, competitive games during the season.
One of those contests was a mid-December meeting at Wilson. The Warriors jumped out to a 10-point lead at halftime before the Falcons escaped with a 52-49 win.
When Salisbury opens play in the Colonial League semifinals on Wednesday at Catasauqua High School, the Falcons will see those Warriors once again. After securing one of two byes in the opening, the No. 1 seeded Falcons serve as the home team against the No. 5 seeded Warriors, who disposed of No. 4 seed Saucon Valley on Saturday night, 47-45 in overtime.
That will be the second game of a doubleheader set for 7:30 p.m. Before that, No. 2 seed Southern Lehigh faces No. 3 seed Bangor at 6 p.m.
"We struggled early to hit some shots," Falcon head coach Jason Weaver said of that regular season meeting. "We turned up the pressure a little bit, got some turnovers, and got out in transition. We shot actually very horrible from the free throw line at the end of that game, which made it close down the stretch."
Wilson's offense relies heavily on senior forward Phil Pierfy, who scored a game-high 21 points against the Falcons during the regular season. He's one of the more gifted big men in the league, and his size and versatility causes problems for opposing teams.
Pierfy scored 21 against the Panthers and scored the game-winning field goal with under two seconds to play that set up a date with the Falcons.
"We knew going in that Pierfy is going to get his points, and he really makes them go," Weaver said. "We need to make sure we defend him the best we can.
"Last time Bryce [Fairclough] covered him, and I think he did a really good job on him on the perimeter. Pierfy hurt us a couple of times on the boards just because he is bigger than Bryce with a couple of pounds. He would rebound over him, so we have to make sure to focus on boxing out, and focus on other guys helping on the boards."
To go along with Pierfy's inside presence, the Warriors' tandem of junior guard Jeff Cooper (12 points against Saucon Valley) and senior guard Jon Cintron (eight points against Saucon Valley) provide a steady balance in the backcourt.
Cooper and Cintron combined for 18 points against the Falcons.
"I think it's also then making sure that the other guys don't hurt us too much," Weaver said. "Cooper started off pretty hot [Saturday against Saucon Valley], and then he cooled down a little bit. So we need to D him up."
On defense, the Warriors run a matchup zone that causes teams to settle for shots from the outside. If the Falcons hope to have success offensively, they'll need to put together a better plan offensively than the Panthers.
"Obviously their matchup zone, Saucon struggled against that," Weaver said. "Our offense needs to be prepared to handle that. We need to move the ball and get some good shots. Hopefully we shoot better than Saucon did."
The Falcons are entering the league tournament for the fifth straight season. Before bowing out in the semifinals in each of the past two years, the Falcons won the league title back in 2012.