Falcons drop finale
This past winter season was an abnormal one for the Salisbury boys basketball team and head coach Jason Weaver.
During his first nine years at Salisbury, Weaver led his Falcons to eight district tournament appearances and five trips to the PIAA playoffs. In this his 10th season at the helm, a rare occurrence resurfaced for the postseason-friendly Falcons.
An 0-8 start to the season buried Salisbury in the District 11 Class 4A standings and the Falcons could never recover. Last week’s 57-49 defeat to Southern Lehigh cemented a 5-17 season (5-13 in Colonial League), and kept the Falcons out of postseason basketball for the first time since the 2010 season.
“We were 0-8 and then we went 5-9 the rest of the way,” Weaver said. “Every single one of those games except maybe Catty—for some reason we just didn’t match up well Catty—we were in games. The second time we played Moravian it was a seven-point game at half. We split with Southern Lehigh. We were up seven against Wilson going into the fourth quarter.”
All three of those teams qualified for the Colonial League tournament that started over the weekend. The common theme in all those games was Salisbury’s inability to come up with an offensive run when it needed to most.
“[Southern Lehigh] hit a 3-pointer and went up by two at the half,” Weaver said. “It was a big guy that hit it, so sort of a surprise shot. In the third quarter going into the fourth we were only down three, and it was a close game. I thought we played pretty well. We’re a little bit better offensively. We were able to push the tempo a little bit.
“And sort of like a lot of our games in the second half of the year, we were in the game and it was just one or two plays here or there. We could never get a lead. We only had that lead for eight seconds and that was our only lead of the half.”
While the offense stalled at times all season long, one silver lining that Weaver saw was Salisbury’s hustle on defense. The Falcons allowed just 53 points per game—a number that decreased as the season went on.
The drawback though was Salisbury’s scoring average of just 46 points a night. And after leading scorer Jack Reichenbach (17 points per game) went down with an injury late in the season, their 1,000-point scorer was no longer there for opposing teams to game plan against.
“I thought we were going to be more competitive,” Weaver said. “I wasn’t expecting to go 0-8. I knew the schedule was tough at the beginning, but I thought we’d be more competitive. I thought a lot of the guys making the jump from JV to varsity weren’t quite ready for that step. We weren’t committed to playing defense either, and that was our problem over the summer.”
But after Reichenbach went down with injury, the Falcons put a lineup on the court that didn’t include a senior for much of the second half of the season. That will only bode well for the future with much of that lineup expected to return.
“I think some of the young guys that we gave minutes to stepped up,” Weaver said. “The last seven games we started a freshman in Quinn Warmkessel. We sort of threw him in the mix because of his hustle, work ethic, diving for loose balls and getting extra possessions because of rebounds.”