Blue Mountain beats Salisbury in opener
The saying goes something like this: you live by the three, you do by the three.
With a new style in full force, one of Salisbury’s biggest strengths on the court figures to be the way it shoots the basketball. It started off solid and ended on fire, but the Falcons struggled to remain consistent in their season opener.
Salisbury (0-1) made five 3-pointers in the fourth period, three on consecutive shots late in the frame, to cut Blue Mountain’s lead to 11. But it was a little too late, as the Eagles (1-0) held on for the 62-51 nonleague win on Friday night at Salisbury High School.
“We hit three or four 3s in a row,” Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver said. “When you rely on jump shots that’s what you’ve got to do. It’s not like we’re getting post-up opportunities, and we didn’t get much in the break either. They did a good job getting back. And their physicality on defense made a difference.”
After taking a one-point lead after eight minutes and trailing by just a field goal at intermission, the Falcons scored just eight points in the third quarter, and the Eagles outscored the hosts in that frame 17-8.
It didn’t get any easier in the final quarter. Salisbury was held scoreless until Jack Reichenbach hit two free throws with 3:20 to play. The Falcons didn’t record a field goal in the quarter until the 2:35 mark when John Blackledge drilled a 3-pointer, but the deficit was already too large to overcome at that point.
“We had a really good first quarter; I thought we started well,” Weaver said. “We moved the ball well. Obviously we are undersized and they had some big guys out there, so we were busting our butts on defense. I thought at halftime I was pretty happy.
“I think in the third quarter, we missed some shots and we started one-passing and firing. We weren’t getting back on defense and not playing with intensity. It sort of buried us.”
Blackenridge’s 3-pointer started a barrage from beyond the arc for the Falcons, including two for the aforementioned junior guard. Reichenbach, Bobby Kulp and Tommy Sylvester also added buckets from behind the arc that cut Blue Mountain’s lead in half from 22 points to 11.
But the Falcons had no answer for Blue Mountain’s Drew Grace, who finished with 20 points, and center Jakob Biever (12 points, 5 rebounds).
Reichenbach finished with 20 points to pace the Falcons.
“We’re a work in progress in zone; we haven’t done it much,” Weaver said. “They moved the ball well and got some open shots. We have to keep working. It’s the first game of the year.
“I think my biggest thing is that there are things we can keep working on individually and as a team, and as long as we are willing to do that we’re going to get better.”
Salisbury returns to the court on Tuesday against Colonial League foe Bangor. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at Salisbury High School. The Falcons have a busy week, traveling to Northern Lehigh Thursday, hosting Palmerton Friday and then heading to Pottsville for a nonleague game on Saturday afternoon.