Girls fall to Northwestern
Salisbury coach Joe Mladosich is seeing some strange and not so wonderful things on the court this season. After a 55-23 loss to Northwestern that left the Falcons (7-10 Colonial, 8-13 overall), Mladosich was admittedly frustrated with his team’s play.
“They give you a little pressure and nobody wants to take care of the ball,” he said. “We’re trying all different combinations, all different kids and we’re just not shooting well. We only shot 20 percent from the floor and you’re not going to win doing that.
“We don’t defend very well. It all comes down to effort and we’re not giving the effort that I believe we should be giving.”
Salisbury finished last season with a 10-8 Colonial League record and a spot in the wild-card round of the league playoffs. The Falcons also qualified for the District 11 tournament and reached the Class 3A quarterfinals last, finishing the season at 13-12 overall. This season, injuries to senior guard Sarah McGee and Madison Bettuccio seemed to put a damper on their season, but both are back in the lineup.
“It’s been a struggle the last couple of weeks,” said Mladosich. “Northwestern is very good and we’ve played a lot of very tough teams, Palisades and Southern Lehigh are very good. The problem is that – as we’ve tried to explain to our kids – it’s not about participating, it’s about competing and I don’t see the competing.”
Against Northwestern (15-2, 17-4), Salisbury hit just one-third [5-for-15] of its foul shots, another area where the team has struggled this season. Alicia Burkhardt finished as the top scorer against the Tigers with five points, while McGee and Hoeing both had four.
With shuffling players back-and-forth, Mladosich was pressed into using some younger players and currently is starting three underclassmen in the latest incarnation of his lineup.
“We have been starting Kelby McNally, she’s a freshman, and Bettuccio is a sophomore and Olivia Hoeoing is a sophomore, so they’re getting a lot of playing time,” said Mladosich. “We’re looking for our seniors to step up.”
The Lady Falcons won’t be playing in the Colonial League postseason, but one more win qualifies them for districts. After a difficult 58-54 loss to Northern Lehigh (7-11, 7-14) Monday night, Salisbury lost its best shot at getting that win. Now, the Falcons need to upset Southern Lehigh (17-0, 19-2) in the final game of the season to reach districts.
The last time that Salisbury didn’t make the District 11 Tournament was in 2011. Since then, the Falcons have played at least one district game each season, including playing in the District 11 Championship against Minersville in 2014. The following season they reached the semifinals against North Schuylkill and in 2016, made it to the quarterfinal round where they lost to St. Basil Academy, the eventual district champions.