Falcons win Bash at the Beach
Salisbury has been a regular participant of basketball tournaments in the summer at Cedar Beach. But over the past few years the Falcons’ experiences have been short-lived. The last time Salisbury advanced to Sunday, the final day of play, was back in 2015.
Not only did the Falcons break that curse this past weekend, they brought home some hardware as well. Salisbury won seven straight games, including a 46-41 victory over fellow Colonial League foe Palmerton in the small school championship game Sunday evening at the Bash at the Beach.
“To make it to Sunday is always a cool thing,” Falcon head coach Jason Weaver said. “I think the last time we made it to Sunday in this tournament was 2015. That’s the last time, so it’s been awhile.”
Palmerton advanced all the way through the winner’s bracket. The Bombers defeated Warren Hills, Notre Dame (Green Pond), Pleasant Valley and Lincoln Leadership to set up an all-Colonial League championship game. This year was the first time that the tournament, formerly the Stellar Catch A Rising Star Tournament, separated boys teams into large-school and small-school brackets.
While Blue Bomber head coach Ken Termini figured some might expect the Falcons to be tired after three games on Sunday, he expected Salisbury’s best effort of the tournament in its last game.
Termini was right. With Quinn Warmkessel back for the Falcons’ run on Sunday, Salisbury picked up wins over Catasauqua, Pleasant Valley and Lincoln Leadership. His play in the championship sealed a tournament that rewarded him Most Valuable Player. He scored 10 points in the championship game victory.
“We’re working and we’re getting better,” Weaver said. “Obviously we’re still a work in progress, but we have a lot of younger guys playing a lot of minutes for us. And they’re not the most experienced guys.”
After opeing the tournament with a loss to Lincoln Leadership on Thursday, Salisbury beat Palisades, Notre Dame (Green Pond) and Northwestern on Saturday to stay alive through the tournaments final day.
“I don’t think this [win over Northwestern] was anywhere close to our best effort of the summer,” said Weaver, “and to get a win when you’re not playing well is a good thing.”
On Sunday, the Falcons beat Catasauqua and Pleasant Valley to reach the consolation bracket final where they got a shot to avenge their only loss of the tournament.
Warmkessel was clutch in the consolation final against Lincoln Leadership, scoring 16 points for the Falcons in a 49-46 victory for their third win of the day. Lincoln Leadership beat Salisbury 69-47 last Thursday to open the tournament.
Incoming senior Patrick Foley, who will take over the starting point guard role after the graduation of Sean Snyder, was named to the All-Tournament team. His hot shooting was evident for much of the tournament, scoring 16 points against Palmerton and 15 against Northwestern (including four 3-pointers).
“We struggled with [Northwestern] last year,” Foley said. “It’s a great feeling. Everyone got together, especially the sophomores, to be able to guard [Deven] Bollinger.”
Weaver also commended the defense of two of his underclassmen, Hunter Bleam and Scott Monahan, who guarded Bollinger, a senior forward.
“They worked hard [against Bollinger],” Weaver said. “He’s a tough player to guard. He can step out and shoot and he drives to the basket.”
Another bright spot was how Salisbury was able to turn around a dismal showing against Notre Dame (Green Pond) in the summer league play. After that 50-46 loss, the Falcons ended the Crusaders’ tournament on Saturday with a 54-37 win.
“When we got down last game, we started falling apart,” Foley said. “We kept our cool this game and we were able to stay together and play together well.”
“It was better defense on Boyle,” Weaver said. “We made more of a concerted effort to make sure we knew where he was at all times. We were out on him and we did a better job defensively. He probably had two-thirds of their points when we played them down here in the summer league.”
Salisbury also defeated Palisades and Pleasant Valley over the weekend.
Wilson West Lawn defeated Easton, 58-45, in the large school tournament championship game.
The Jim Thorpe girls avenged an earlier tournament loss against Dunmore in the girls championship game, 44-38.