Salisbury boys basketball adopts new style this summer
Although still months away, the scene will look drastically different when the Salisbury boys basketball team takes the hardwood in the winter. But summer basketball fans are getting a glimpse of what next year’s team will look like.
Without graduates Jaxon Costello (a Colonial League First Team all-star) and Ryan Slutsky occupying the paint, Salisbury will shift from a post-heavy team to one that hopes to take advantage of its speed. And while it has looked different this summer, the Falcons are adapting well to that change for the most part.
“There were so many games where we could run a very basic offense and pound the ball into Jaxon,” head coach Jason Weaver said. “If he misses the shot, 50 percent of the time he’s getting his rebound and putting it back up.
“We’re able to run a little bit more (this year). We’re able to get out in transition. We struggle to get rebounds on both ends of the floor.”
Last Thursday’s 54-48 loss to Upper Perk dropped Salisbury to 1-2 in summer league play. But with many players missing games here and there, the record isn’t an indicative telling point.
Not only is this team without Costello and Slutsky, it graduated a third senior starter from last year in Blake Jones. Only Jack Reichenbach, Sean Snyder and Tommy Sylvester played significant, meaningful varsity minutes last year. Of those three, only Reichenbach is a senior, so the summer time will be a great platform for this young group to mesh together.
“There’s really only three guys that I may have played meaningful varsity minutes last year,” Weaver said. “Everybody else is pretty inexperienced. We’re still learning to play together. We’re doing a pretty good job shooting the basketball and scoring. Defensively we’re still a work in progress just because we are small.”
Take for instance last week’s game against Upper Perk, a game in which the Falcons held a sizable lead in the final minutes. But a couple of careless turnovers sent the game into double overtime, and Salisbury could not find a way to come out on top in the extra sessions.
“We were up seven with about two minutes to go and just had some bad turnovers,” Weaver said. “I think those are games in the regular season where I think we take care of business.”
Throw in the fact that a number of players have been busy with spring sports makes it a bit tougher for this group to gel. Joey Galantini is also playing legion baseball this summer, while Oliver Stewart, Jacob Kamp and Jack Frankenfield have all been busy with football camp. Those three figure to be key building blocks in replacing the lost post presence from Costello and Slutsky. Kahleel Foster also figures to be a key piece in the rebuild.
Reichenbach recently completed a record-setting track and field season over Memorial Day Weekend.
Whatever group does take line court at Allentown’s Cedar Beach is playing hard every night. Case in point was the team’s second game of the season against Lincoln Leadership.
Although Salisbury did come up short, it was able to erase a 20-point deficit and cut the lead to just three points.
“There’s so many guys doing spring sports that we don’t have much continuity,” Weaver said. “We don’t have an offense, per se, where I can call plays. We haven’t had enough guys together to be able to do that.”
Salisbury will face Northern Lehigh on Thursday at 6 p.m. back at Cedar Beach Park.