Slow starts doom Falcons
Getting off to slow starts has been a concern for the Salisbury boys’ basketball team this season. And it once again hurt the Falcons last week.
Palmerton’s Justin Hosier erupted for 19 points in the first quarter, and the Blue Bombers led by as much as 21 points in the second quarter. The Falcons fought back to get within five points in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Palmerton held on for the 65-61 win last Wednesday.
“I said in the locker room that we can’t come out like that,” head coach Jason Weaver said. “Do we need to do something more to get us energized from the beginning? I talked about how energized Palmerton is and how well they were playing, and we come out flat. It’s unacceptable.”
The Falcons (4-3 overall, 3-2 in Colonial League) experienced a slow start just two days earlier against Wilson. The Warriors scored the first nine points, but Salisbury was able to respond with the next eight.
The slow start against Palmerton (5-2, 4-1) was a bit tougher to overcome, largely due to the hot shooting of Hosier. The Blue Bomber guard, who finished with a game-high 33 points, found himself wide open on a number of occasions in the first quarter. He made 4-of-5 three-point attempts in the opening eight minutes and hit three in a row to close out the frame for a 24-7 Blue Bomber lead.
Salisbury was down 11-1 in the opening minutes. Its first field goal came midway through the quarter when Sean Snyder, who finished with a team-high 15 points, drove to the basket for a lay in.
“You can’t be down 30-9,” said Weaver. “You can’t give Hosier 19 points in a quarter. A lot of them were wide open shots. And even late we gave up some open shots. We didn’t close out quick enough on [Seth Young]. He hit two in the corner on us.”
Salisbury showed some fight on the road, however. Snyder hit a three-pointer with 2:50 to play in the first half that got the Falcons within 30-20. Patrick Foley, who hit three from deep range in the game, hit his first late in the second quarter that made it a nine-point game.
Foley hit another clutch three-pointer in the third quarter, a shot from the right corner that got Salisbury within 42-37. Another from long range a minute into the fourth quarter kept the Falcons at that distance at 49-44.
“We shot the ball well,” said Weaver. “We hit nine three-pointers. That should be good enough, but you can’t give up so many open looks. A lot of their three-pointers were wide open. There weren’t guys in their face.”
Young and Salisbury’s Tommy Sylvester traded three-pointers midway through the fourth quarter, but the Falcons couldn’t get closer than five points until a late three-pointer to end the game from Trey Weber.
“I’m sort of a man-to-man guy and it kind of pains me to play zone, but I guess we have to because we are struggling to defend guys,” Weaver said. “We have to get better defensively. We are giving up too many points and too many open looks.
“We have to value the ball more. We have some awful turnovers that blow my mind.”
Palmerton’s Nate Dougherty scored 18 points and continuously attacked the basket. He hit 12-of-15 free throws.
Quintin Stephens scored 11 points for the Falcons, Foley added nine and Sylvester pitched in with eight.
The Falcons will suit up in their annual holiday tournament, which is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Salisbury faces Quakertown on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. Northampton and Saucon Valley are the other two participating boys teams and will tip off at 5:30 p.m.
The event concludes Friday with a consolation game at 5:30 p.m. and the boys championship at 7:15 p.m.