Salisbury girls fall in D-11 semifinals
It was the start the Salisbury girls basketball team could have hoped for.
The Falcons' 2-3 zone defense limited top-seeded North Schuylkill to six points on 2-for-13 shooting in the first quarter, resulting in a 14-6 advantage for the No. 5 seeded Lady Falcons.
But shots eventually started to fall for the Lady Spartans.
By the time halftime hit, the Lady Spartans cut Salisbury's lead to two points. North Schuylkill took the lead midway through the third in large part with their full-court pressure, and that lead ballooned to double digits early in the fourth.
The Lady Falcons got to within 48-40 late, but North Schuylkill's 54-42 victory ended Salisbury's season last Tuesday at Blue Mountain High School in the District 11 Class AA semifinals.
"We have a hard time playing man, so we played zone," head coach Joe Mladosich said. "It gives them those shots. In the first half, they didn't make them. In the second half, they turned it up. They pressed a little more and got things going their way."
North Schuylkill's Averi Jordan opened the second quarter with two three-pointers in the opening two minutes to close the Lady Falcons' edge to 14-12. Salisbury pushed its lead back to seven points minutes later, but the Spartans ended the half on a 7-2 run.
When the Spartans unleashed their full-court pressure to begin the third quarter, Salisbury watched its lead quickly turn into a 32-27 lead for North Schuylkill heading into the fourth quarter.
The Spartans' Carly Gregas scored six of her team-high 14 points in the third.
"They looked like they turned it up a notch, and we didn't turn it up a notch," Mladosich said. "When we came out of the second half, we missed an easy layup, the ball goes out of bounds and they come down and score. I think when you make shots, obviously you have more intensity and get more involved."
Compared to just four turnovers in the first half, the Lady Falcons committed six alone in the third quarter.
"We said we played very well in the first half and dominated the first half, but we're only leading by two," Mladosich said. "You need to get out to a little bigger lead than two when you dominate like that."
North Schuylkill broke the game open by scoring eight of the first 10 points in the fourth. Gregas added seven more in the frame for the Lady Spartans, who led by as many as 13 down the stretch.
Tiffany Lapotsky and Jordan each added 10 for the Lady Spartans.
Meagan Eripret, still bothered by an ankle injury she suffered in the Lady Falcons' regular season finale, scored a game-high 18 points. She also became Salisbury's all-time leading scorer with a field goal in the second quarter. She tops the list with 1,788 career points.
Bauer finished with nine points for Salisbury.
Eripret (along with Kelly Gonoude, Holly Szita and Jenna Keet) were all senior starters for the Falcons who will graduate at the end of the year. Laura Albright and Madison Csondor are also seniors who have helped the Falcons reach the district semifinals for the second consecutive season.
"The seniors have been great," Mladosich said. "They work hard. They do a lot of different things [and] are good students. We're really pleased with everybody here."