Salisbury Press

Friday, August 18, 2017

Falcons make playoffs at Cedar Beach

Friday, August 4, 2017 by Todd Kress tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

When Salisbury faced Lincoln Leadership in the regular season, the Falcons fell into an early double-digit deficit. They were able to climb out of that hole before coming up a couple points shy.

The two teams faced off once again in the summer league playoffs last week and the game had a start that looked eerily similar. Salisbury however, couldn’t climb out this time as No. 6 seed Lincoln Leadership downed the third-seeded Falcons, 47-25, last Wednesday at Cedar Beach. Justin Ayala scored a game-high 18 points for Lincoln Leadership in the victory.

“We were down by like the same thing, 18 or 20, and then we made a big comeback [in the regular season],” head coach Jason Weaver said. “We ended up losing by three.

“We just struggled to stop them defensively [last week]. We gave up shots. Their zone was pretty effective and they were trapping us. Between the turnovers and their execution on offense, we were in trouble. We were down 16-2 to start and never recovered.”

Last week’s summer-ending defeat to Lincoln Leadership was a mirror of what has plagued Salisbury the past couple of months. Lincoln’s pressure defensively forced Salisbury into countless turnovers and sub-par possessions on offensive. The Falcons’ shooting wasn’t as solid as it had been through the rest of the summer, either.

“We played better in the regular season,” Weaver said. “It was inside the first time we played them, so I think we shot the ball a little bit better.

“It’s always good to make the playoffs. Hopefully it showed some of these guys how to compete against the better teams. We have a lot of work to do. We were able to beat some teams in the summer league, but in the tournaments against some of the better teams we really struggled with handling pressure and playing solid defense. I think those are the two things we need to get better at if we want to win big games come winter time.”

The Falcons lost all five games they played in the Beach at the Bash and SportsFest A-Town Throwdown tournaments in July. But three of those games were against Eastern Pennsylvania Conference opponents, two are located out of the area and five of the six will play in the PIAA’s 6A classification this winter. Salisbury will compete at 4A, so the competition it saw in July will certainly help the team be prepared for December and beyond.

Salisbury’s JV team is also seeing its fair share of play this summer. As one of only four Colonial League teams in its summer league, the Falcons have consistently seen top notch competition in June and July.

“There’s a bunch of guys that are going into ninth grade,” Weaver said. “I think us, Notre Dame, Southern Lehigh and Bangor are the only Colonial League teams in it. So we are playing teams like Freedom, Liberty, Phillipsburg and Allen. It’s better competition but they are getting better.”