Salisbury Press

Saturday, January 19, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSalisbury’s Joe Panariello drives to the basket during a recent game. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZSalisbury’s Joe Panariello drives to the basket during a recent game.

Salisbury tops SV

Saturday, January 5, 2019 by TODD KRESS tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

The Salisbury boys basketball team had just five wins all of last season. The Falcons picked up their fifth win of this season before the calendar even turned to January.

In the consolation game of its annual holiday tournament, Salisbury defeated Saucon Valley, 58-42, on Friday night. The Falcons (5-4 overall; 3-2 in Colonial League) fell to Quakertown in their first game of the tournament, 82-57.

“It’s good to bounce back and get a win,” Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver said. “It’s been two weeks since we had a win. Last year we had five wins all season, and now we have five before the New Year, so I’ll take it. We’re still a work in progress.”

In what was just a one-point Salisbury lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Falcons used some defensive pressure to pull away from Saucon Valley after watching Palmerton and Wilson close out tight games in the Falcons’ prior two league losses.

After Sean Snyder scored to put Salisbury back in front of the Panthers at 34-32, the Falcon point guard came up with two more big plays on ensuing possessions. Following two Saucon Valley turnovers, Snyder pushed the ball up to Quintin Stephens, who finished in transition for a 38-32 lead with 5:10 to play.

Snyder led everyone with 17 points. Stephens added 14.

“I thought our defense in the fourth quarter was solid,” Weaver said. “We got some stops and played hard. We got some tips. We got some steals. We didn’t give up many second-chance points. We really took [Sean] Cyphers away there, their main scorer.”

“I think that was all around a team effort in stopping their bigs,” Snyder said. “I can’t really remember them doing much in the second half. That was our focus—to shut them down. It led to really easy baskets on the other end.”

Patrick Foley hit a three-pointer to increase Salisbury’s lead to 41-32. The Falcons led by as many as 12 points before Saucon Valley got to within six down the stretch.

Stephens and Snyder both had big fourth quarters, combining for 14 points. Snyder also hit all four of his free throws in the final eight minutes to help close out the victory.

Snyder also kept Salisbury afloat in the opening quarter. He hit two key three-pointers to erase an early two-point deficit and turn it into a 10-4 lead. Salisbury held a 13-10 lead after the first quarter before Saucon Valley regained the lead at halftime, 22-20, when Brandon Binn hit a shot from long range with two seconds left.

“[Snyder] hit three three-pointers and was 6-for-6 from the free throw line,” Weaver said. “I keep telling him to look for his shot. He’s probably our best pure shooter.”

“I think I had a good matchup,” Snyder said. “A couple of times I saw I had the shot and decided I’m just going to let it fly. I hit two early on, so I just kept going with it. What I’ve been trying to do a lot this year is get to the line more because I worked on my free throw shot a lot over the summer.”

The win helped Salisbury end a three-game skid, and it couldn’t have come at a more needed time.

The Falcons have a tough three-game stretch ahead that includes Notre Dame-Green Pond (3-2) on Thursday, Northwestern (3-2) on Saturday and Bangor (5-0) next Thursday.

“We came out today with a little extra motivation, especially because last year we lost to Saucon Valley at the end of the year, and that was a game we should have won, too,” Snyder said. “We really wanted to beat Saucon today, and I think that showed as we were able to close it out really well in the fourth.”

Binn led Saucon Valley with 13 points.