Girls bounce back with win over SV
Due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances, a number of Salisbury girls basketball underclassmen were forced into larger roles than the coaching staff had planned for this season.
After losing two starters to injury in leading scorer Sarah McGee and Salisbury’s tallest player in Madison Bettuccio, voids were left. But a number of freshmen and sophomores have filled in nicely for head coach Joe Mladosich.
Two of them had solid games over the weekend against Saucon Valley. Freshman Kelby McNally and sophomore Olivia Hoeing combined for 15 points as the Falcons (7-9 overall; 5-6 in Colonial League) defeated the Panthers (2-8, 1-8) on Saturday afternoon, 35-28. That win came after a difficult loss less than 24 hours earlier.
“Yesterday [a 45-32 loss to Palmerton on Friday] was definitely a rough game; it was hard to shoot and our shots were off,” Hoeing said. “Today we were definitely motivated to make our shots and keep the lead going so we would have that possibility to get into districts.”
Hoeing, the Falcons’ starting point guard, was in that role even before any injuries for Salisbury this season. But with McGee no longer handling the ball on offense for a large portion of the time, Hoeing has taken on a larger role running the offense.
Hoeing hit one of Salisbury’s two 3-pointers to open the game against Saucon Valley. The other came from McNally as the Falcons jumped out to a 6-0 lead they wouldn’t look back from.
“I’m pretty comfortable,” Hoeing said. “Every now and then I like to pass the ball off, but it’s definitely fun playing out there. It definitely comes with challenges, but we like to face challenges head on and do our best.
“It’s definitely very difficult; we relied on her [McGee] a lot last year and the beginning of this season. We’re excited for the opportunity to have her back.”
Leading 10-7 after the first quarter and 17-14 heading into halftime, Salisbury separated itself with a strong start to the third. McNally hit a 3-pointer that gave the Falcons their first double-digit lead at 27-17 with 2:15 to play in the frame. The freshman then set up Hoeing for a bucket and a 12-point advantage.
“We’ve been working hard, but of course the losses of Sarah and Madison have been kind of difficult,” McNally said. “But the hard work at practices has definitely paid off.”
Kelly Gardus played a big role in the third quarter, scoring eight of her team-high nine points. She also secured a team-high 13 rebounds.
McNally, after being a bit hesitant to shoot early in the season, has seemed to find her role. She scored five points in that big third-quarter stretch that put the visitors ahead 32-19 heading into the fourth quarter.
Saucon Valley went on a 9-1 run to open the final frame, cutting Salisbury’s lead to just five points. But the Falcons did enough down the stretch to hold on.
“The past couple of games I’ve been a little more hesitant because I want to share the ball and everything,” McNally said. “But now I think I’ve found the right balance of trying to pass the ball off, but take the shot when I need to.”
Salisbury returns to the court for back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday.
The Falcons travel to Moravian Academy on Thursday, and then host Catasauqua on Friday for Senior Night. Both games are scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m.