SL blemishes a perfect CL season
Dating back all the way to the 2002-03 season, only two boys basketball teams had run through the Colonial League regular season schedule unbeaten.
Bangor most recently accomplished the feat in 2010-11 when they finished 16-0. Prior to that, Wilson was the last squad to finish a regular season with a perfect mark at 18-0 in 2002-03.
And while the task of staying perfect in conference play is an extremely difficult one, Salisbury was on the cusp of doing that last week. The Falcons, who entered Thursday's game against Southern Lehigh at 16-0 in conference, needed one more league win to cement themselves in history.
The Spartans, who were fighting for the final bye of the upcoming Colonial League playoffs, had other plans.
After Dasheen Reid broke a 47-47 game with 5:00 to play that gave the Falcons a two-point lead, it was all Southern Lehigh down the stretch. The Spartans (15-2 in Colonial League) got a three-pointer from Noah Kandt nearly two minutes later and Lucas Hudson hit seven of eight free throws in the final 2:16 to lift Southern Lehigh to a 59-49 win.
"We talked about going undefeated in the regular season," Weaver said. "In my mind, we shouldn't have a letdown. I think we got carless with the basketball. We shot 5-for-13 from the line and had probably in the teens in turnovers-that's hard to get a win.
"At this time of the year, you don't want any losses. We want to be riding that momentum and that positive vibe. We were careless tonight, and you can't be careless against good teams."
The Falcons, who shot 9-for-12 from the field in the first quarter, jumped out to a 21-11 lead late in that opening period. Reid scored seven in that stretch, while Tevon Weber added six.
But after that quick start in front of the home crowd, the Spartans steadily chipped into the Falcons' lead.
Jacob Cassel's hook shot brought Southern Lehigh to within 27-25 with 2:28 to play in the half, and Kandt hit two free throws in the final 30 seconds to make it a two-point game once again. The Falcons, however, hit one of two free throws to take a 30-27 advantage into the break.
The Spartans, after trailing 37-32 midway through the third quarter, closed out the period on an 11-5 run. Hudson's 3-pointer from the left corner gave Southern Lehigh it's first lead since early in the first quarter at 43-40.
"We had way too many turnovers, and it led to some easy baskets for them," Weaver said. "It led to some stuff in transition, and it led to a couple of times maybe helping and we get out of position, or we lose our feet."
The Falcons' start to the game offensively in the first quarter was one of their best stretches of the season. But in the final eight minutes, Salisbury shot 3-12 from the field and scored seven points.
"At times we sort of rushed when we didn't need to," Weaver said. "We were down and it's a tie game, or a one-point game or a two-possession game, and I think at times we rushed a little bit."
Reid, Weber and Bryce Fairclough all scored 12 points apiece for the Falcons.
Hudson paced the Spartans with 19. Mike Zabrecky finished with 16 and was instrumental in the Southern Lehigh's run early in the game, scoring eight straight points.
Salisbury still earned a the top seed and a bye in the first round of the Colonial League playoffs. The Falcons will face No. 5 seed Wilson on Wednesday at Catasauqua High School.
Wilson beat No. 4 Saucon Valley, 47-45 in overtime Saturday night to advance to the semifinals.