Falcons pick up first win of season
Last week was sort of like a roller coaster ride for the Salisbury boys’ basketball team.
After suffering two losses in its annual holiday tournament, Salisbury closed 2017 by finally securing its first win of the season. The Falcons (1-8) defeated Palmerton on Saturday night, 56-53, to pick up its first Colonial League win and end an eight-game skid.
The Falcons fell to Northampton (50-38) last Wednesday, and then came up short against Quakertown (41-27) on Thursday in the consolation game at Salisbury High School.
“I think we’re getting better defensively. I truly believe that,” Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver said. “We were down just one going into the fourth quarter against Northampton. We held Quakertown to 41. I think the defense has gotten better.
“We played eight games, and the combined record of them was 41-21. So we played some good teams…We just haven’t put it all together yet.”
The Falcons may have put together their most complete performance of the season in that key league victory against Palmerton. Jack Reichenbach led the way with 24 points, but Tommy Sylvester (14) and Oliver Stewart (11) also finished in double figures. Prior to that game, only one time has another Falcon other than Reichenbach scored at least 10 points this year.
But against Quakertown, that struggle to score came to light after an impressive start. The Falcons scored the first six points and led 10-2 early, but the final 32 minutes was all down hill.
Quakertown took its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer from Jon Rey midway through the second quarter, and it never looked back. The Panthers outscored Salisbury 14-2 in the second quarter to lead by eight at halftime, kept their distance in the third and grew their lead to 16 points in the fourth.
Salisbury scored just 15 points over the final three quarters.
“In the first quarter we were able to get out and get some baskets in transition,” Weaver said. “I know Jack [Reichenbach] had a nice dunk, and we were able to get out and run a little bit. In the second and third quarter I think we scored seven points combined. They cranked up the defense and made it tough for Jack to get open for shots. We’re struggling to get other guys to score.”
There were a bit more bright spots against Northampton. The Falcons stayed within striking distance of the East Penn Conference foe and trailed by just a point entering the fourth quarter on Day 1 of the tournament.
“[Northampton] sat in a matchup zone, and we really played well,” Weaver said. “We were right there. They got out of the zone and started playing man-to-man and putting pressure on us. And that is what we still can’t handle yet. It’s not like it was a full court press or guys trapping.”
The team is still young and largely inexperienced through roughly half of the season. But Weaver is hoping Saturday’s win propels the Falcons to a positive January and beyond.
“We are building. We are still very young,” Weaver said. “There’s two seniors on the team, and Oliver [Stewart] isn’t really an experienced guy. There is some encouraging stuff with the younger guys, which is good to see.”