Boys get a glimpse of the future
Salisbury didn’t enter the winter basketball season with many seniors on its roster. But as of late, the Falcons haven’t had a single senior take the court.
Jack Reichenbach and Oliver Stewart were the lone two seniors for Salisbury when it tipped off this season. But both have not been on the court over the past few games. Those absences have opened the door for a number of underclassmen to shine, and the Falcons have been surprisingly effective in what has been a tough season.
The Falcons won their fourth Colonial League game of the season, and it was arguably their most dominant effort of the winter. Salisbury held Palisades to five first-half points for a 58-25 victory last Wednesday.
“I think overall the biggest thing we improved today was our intensity,” said junior point guard Sean Snyder, currently the lone returning starter from last year’s team. “I feel like some games we come out and we don’t really play our hardest. The offense moves slow, and defensively we’re not as aggressive. I feel like the teamwork and our intensity is what got us the win today.”
“I was just happy for those guys to have a locker room where there’s a reward for all of the time we’ve been putting in,” Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver said. “We’ve been taking our lumps. It was our first win without Jack [Reichenbach], which I also think helps our confidence. Obviously he’s been our leading scorer and a guy that I’ve depended on for three years.”
Reichenbach was injured during the Falcons’ five-point loss to Palmerton on January 19. He hasn’t played since that game, nor was he slated to take the court for Salisbury’s regular season finale that was on Tuesday night.
Stewart, along with a number of other players, hasn’t been with team since around the midway point of the season.
Those two voids have left Snyder as really the only Falcon who saw significant varsity experience a year ago. He asserted himself early against Palisades, hitting two 3-pointers and scoring nine points in the first half. The Falcons led 30-5 at the break and wouldn’t be tested over the final 16 minutes.
“The top focus for me has to be getting everyone involved,” Snyder said. “I’m going to be aggressive finding my shot and taking my shot when I have it. I hit a couple in the first half, and then in the second half I think I found Quinn [Warmkessel] a couple of times and Jack [Frankenfield].”
Snyder dished out three assists in the third quarter to help Salisbury push its lead to 48-14. Khaleel Foster, a junior, scored six points in the third and finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Jack Frankenfield, also a junior who started the season on JV, dominated inside with a game-high 14 points in three quarters of play.
“In the beginning of the year we had Jack [Frankenfield] playing JV and it was a struggle,” Weaver said. “But he’s grown into his body. He’s realizing you have to be a little more aggressive, you have to come and meet passes, and you have to be a little bit stronger when you make moves.”
Junior Tommy Sylvester has been a starter since Day 1, but Weaver also got plenty of key minutes from other players that will be building blocks moving forward. Those include junior Colten Hagadus, sophomore Patrick Foley, and freshman Quintin Stephens.
But the leader of this team next season figures to be Snyder, one who is no stranger to the varsity stage or bright lights of postseason basketball.
“Especially in the Moravian game, I really tried to assert myself as kind of the top option because I feel like I can fill that role now that Jack is out,” Snyder said. “Going forward into next year, somebody has to take that role. I feel like that is going to be me. I fell like that should be me.”
“He’s got a good shot,” Weaver said. “Last year he didn’t need to shoot the ball; he just needed to run the offense and get the ball inside to Jaxon [Costello] and Ryan [Slutsky] and find Blake [Jones] and Jack when they were open. This is his opportunity to form his team.”