Falcons fall to Northwestern
Baseball great Yogi Berra once noted “it gets late early around here.” That could apply to Salisbury’s boys basketball season as the Falcons hope to qualify for a spot in the district tournament. The season is only at the halfway mark, but it seems much later for the Falcons, who need a dramatic turnaround from their 1-6 Colonial League record and their overall 1-10 record on the season.
This past weekend may have been the one that put the first nail in their coffin with losses to Catasauqua and Northwestern. The Rough Riders (7-1, 8-2) used a big second quarter to open up a 12-point lead, but Salisbury played them tough in the second half before falling 63-47.
Against Northwestern (5-2, 7-3), it was another story, with the Falcons holding a four-point halftime lead, Northwestern used a big second half to come away with a 48-44 win.
“I thought our defense was pretty solid, but Northwestern did a better job executing in the second half,” said Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver. “We’re still a team learning how to win and when you make little mistakes, force some stuff, don’t run the offense all the way through or have a turnover here or there and then you miss a defensive assignment, it makes it difficult.”
Jack Reichenbach scored 18 against the Tigers and Tommy Sylvester added 10 points. Jack Frankenfield scored eight points for Salisbury, with all of them coming in the second half.
“We threw some guys out there like Jack Frankenfield and Quinn Warmkessel, who haven’t played much, but they’re stepping up; I thought they both did well today. Jack [Frankenfield] did a good job today, posting up and Quinn, for a freshman, did a good job battling and posting-up, getting us some extra possessions and playing hard,” said Weaver. “We’ve got one senior right now, so it’s tough, these are guys that are still learning how to play.”
Before flipping the calendar to 2018, Salisbury picked up its first win of the season by beating Palmerton 56-53. Weaver was hoping that the win over the Blue Bombers (3-4, 5-6) was a springboard, but the back-to-back losses dealt a blow to the Falcons playoff chances.
“We need any win right now,” stressed Weaver. “We were always in a position with a smaller lead [against Northwestern]. We could never get that six-, seven-point lead where maybe we can stop them and push it to 10, but we were never able to do that. They were able to take advantage of that and got the ball to our scorers and made us pay.”
Northwestern’s Devin Thomas was able to exploit some defensive lapses coming out of the locker room for the third quarter and scored 11 of his 20 points in the period. The Tigers also shot 8-for-10 from the free-throw line in the second half to help them close the gap in a game that featured seven second-half lead changes and 10 overall in the game.
Even with the losses this past weekend, Weaver is seeing signs of encouragement that make him believe his team can still fight its way back to give themselves a shot at playing in the postseason.
“We’re in games now and I would say that since Christmas we’ve been in every game that we played in the second half, which was not happening before,” Weaver said. “We still have to learn how to win and for a lot of these guys stepping up to the varsity level, it’s a big step up, but we’re getting there.
“They were beating us down the court in the beginning and getting some easy layups and transition baskets, but the defense got better. I don’t think we shot the ball well today, but we put ourselves in position for some good shots, we just couldn’t hit them.”
The schedule has Salisbury playing at Pen Argyl (1-6, 3-8) before home games against Southern Lehigh (3-3, 3-7) and Wilson (4-3, 5-5) over the next week.