Seniors secure win over Rough Riders
Last Friday night was dedicated to Salisbury’s five senior girls basketball players: Anna Bishop, Alicia Burkhardt, Olivia Dragovits, Kelly Gardus and Sarah McGee. After the players were honored prior to the start of the game, the Falcons played arguably their best game of the season on Senior Night.
The Falcons made their first seven shots against visiting Catasauqua, led 20-0 after the first quarter, and never looked back. Salisbury (8-10 overall; 6-7 in Colonial League), led by a starting group of five seniors that played the entire first half, defeated the Rough Riders 55-17.
“Confidence is very big, because when we aren’t dropping our shots, we put our heads down and can’t make anything the rest of the game,” Gardus said. “Tonight we started off strong and stayed strong the rest of the game.”
Gardus, in particular, started off strong. The Falcon senior guard hit back-to-back 3-pointers on Salisbury’s first two possessions. Bishop then drilled a deep 3-pointer, and McGee (in her second game back from injury) hit one from beyond the arc to increase the Falcons’ lead to 12-0.
The Falcons made their next three shots and went 7-for-10 in the first quarter. Salisbury led 24-0 before Catasauqua got on the scoreboard with 5:20 to play in the half on Lexi Rushatz’s first of two 3-pointers.
“I think we looked amazing,” Gardus said. “The energy was amazing, and I think that was a big part of it. Just having Sarah back also helped us a lot.”
It was McGee’s second game back on the court since returning from a wrist injury that cost her eight games. She scored a game-high 13 points, dished out five assists and recorded two blocks.
McGee said she felt much more comfortable after returning against Moravian Academy just days earlier. And she looked the part, setting up Gardus (11 points) for her two open 3-pointers in the first quarter and making her two field goal attempts.
“We were really together and the energy was there,” McGee said. “That contributed to a lot of the success.”
“She can do anything out there,” Gardus said. “She is one of our leading scorers, but she also sets people up a lot. She has amazing passes that always get people open, and when she drives it opens people up and she dishes it out.”
The starting seniors remained in the game for the start of the third quarter, but head coach Joe Mladosich was able to play many of his regular rotation players after the break. Erica Holben, Olivia Hoeing, Caitlin Scialla and Peyton Stauffer all scored in the third to push Salisbury’s lead to 41-11 with eight minutes to play.
Burkhardt scored six of her eight points in the fourth quarter to close out the game for Salisbury.
With four games remaining, Salisbury must win two of them to qualify for the District 11 Tournament. The Falcons travel to Palisades on Wednesday for a 6:45 p.m. start, followed by Friday’s game at Northwestern to close out the week. They close the season next week with games at Northern Lehigh (Monday) and Southern Lehigh (Wednesday).