Boys go 1-1 on opening weekend
During a subpar winter season a year ago, it’s been quite some time since the Salisbury boys’ basketball team was at or above .500. After dropping its season opener against Blue Mountain last Friday night, the Falcons got to .500 with a win the next day.
The Falcons (1-1) separated themselves against Oley Valley in the second half and evened their record with a 69-55 win on Saturday afternoon. Salisbury started last season 0-8.
“It was big because last night [against Blue Mountain] was a tough one in the first half,” said sophomore guard Quintin Stephens, who scored 12 points in the victory. “In the second half we came back and played hard. We tried to come back, but turnovers killed us.”
“The guy came out on fire last night and hit five three-pointers in the first quarter and 19 points at halftime, and we are down 17 points,” head coach Jason Weaver said. “I give the guys credit. We really fought in the second half. We cut it to three in the third quarter [against Blue Mountain].”
The opposite was on display against Oley Valley not even 24 hours later. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-6 lead after the first quarter and never trailed the rest of the way.
After a trio of Oley Valley players hit four three-pointers in the second quarter to get within 33-27, Salisbury had a run in the second half and wouldn’t be stopped.
“We definitely stepped up when we first came out today instead of last night when we didn’t play good enough defense,” Stephens said. “We played better defense in the first half.”
“We had a great start — 17-6 after the first quarter I think,” Weaver said. “Then we got a little lazy on defense and gave up some easy baskets. They knocked down some three-pointers. But today I thought the balance was key. That is sort of what this team is.”
Six players scored in the third quarter as Salisbury quickly increased its lead to double digits. A three-point play from Stephens, who has opened the floor for the Falcons with his ability to drive to the basket, increased the Falcons’ lead to 46-36 with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.
“Quintin attacks the basket, and he has a good feel for the game,” Weaver said. “And this is two games in a row I’ve had him on the opposing team’s point guard and he pressures the ball. He’s an athlete and has a good feel for the game. When he plays under control, he is effective.”
“Yesterday I was a little nervous, but by the second half I thought I was good,” Stephens said. “I wasn’t nervous anymore.”
Stephens’ ability to drive to the basket opened up shots for a number of shooters beyond the arc, too. And Patrick Foley took advantage, hitting back-to-back three-pointers that increased Salisbury’s lead to 54-38 late in the third.
Sean Snyder hit three free throws to close out the frame, and Oley Valley didn’t get within single digits the rest of the way.
“For us to have those shooters to knock down those big shots, like Patrick did tonight hitting those two big ones to help us gain momentum again, is a big factor,” Stephens said.
Four players finished in double figures for Salisbury, led by sophomore Quinn Warmkessel’s 13 points. Stephens and Tommy Sylvester each scored 12, while Snyder added 10.