Big fourth quarter leads Wilson to win
In its two Colonial League victories last week against Pen Argyl (65-53) and Southern Lehigh (44-43), one thing that Salisbury did well was close out the game.
But Monday against Wilson, the Falcons had trouble putting together a full 32 minutes of basketball.
Leading from the opening tipoff and by as much as 10 points in the third quarter, Salisbury could not hold on in the fourth. Wilson (8-5 overall; 7-3 in Colonial League) outscored the Falcons 24-10 in the final eight minutes to earn the 56-49 victory at Salisbury High School.
“I said it was probably a good 28 minutes,” head coach Jason Weaver said. “It’s sort of like the game up at Northwestern about 10 days ago. We led for about 90 percent of the game, and then pressure. Can we handle pressure? Can we get guys to the right spot? We know what to do, but when pressure comes we don’t do it.”
Once Wilson ramped up its pressure in the final quarter, Salisbury (3-11; 3-7) struggled to handle it when it needed to most. The Falcons turned the ball over seven times in the fourth quarter, resulting in countless layups and easy buckets for Wilson in transition.
“Last week we beat Pen Argyl and beat Southern Lehigh, and we executed down the stretch in those two games,” Weaver said. “We did not tonight, and that was the difference.
“They cranked it up. And did we get tired? Did we get lazy with some of our passes? Yeah. But that’s gut check time that we have to execute.”
A driving layup from Khaleel Foster put the Falcons ahead 34-24 early in the third quarter, Salisbury’s largest lead of the game. But Wilson had an answer.
The Warriors got within three points early in the fourth quarter, and Charbel Ghaleb’s rebound and putback with 3:14 to play tied the game. Wilson went ahead on a Peter Rivera three-pointer with 1:35 to play and never looked back. Rivera scored all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter.
“We’re playing teams better,” Weaver said. “It’s frustrating because we are proving we can play with people. These guys [Wilson] are probably averaging 70 per game, and going into the fourth quarter they have 32 points. They amped up the pressure and we didn’t respond.”
Salisbury, meanwhile, had another fast start. Jack Reichenbach scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the opening half to lead the Falcons to a 30-24 lead. Tommy Sylvester pitched in with two key 3-pointers as well.
But after halftime, particularly in the fourth quarter, the Falcons struggled to take care of the ball and generate offense.
“It’s still a work in progress for Jack [Frankenfield] and getting used to the varsity level,” Weaver said. “I think we could have looked to get the ball inside a little bit more, but I think sometimes their pressure got to us and we didn’t even have an opportunity to run a set.
“We’re learning the intensity and the fire that you have to have at varsity basketball. There was a loose ball late. They had four guys diving four it and I didn’t see one of my guys dive for the loose ball. It’s coming. We are getting better.”
Salisbury gets back on the court on Friday when it travels to Palmerton. Tip off is set for 6:45 p.m.