Boys have experience for 2019-20
Salisbury boys basketball head coach Jason Weaver is hoping for a return trip to the postseason after the Falcons failed to qualify in each of the past two seasons. And with a strong returning cast this winter, those odds are looking fairly good.
While two players graduated from last year’s team that went 8-14 overall and 5-12 in the Colonial League, three others return with plenty of varsity experience looking to reverse unfortunate past.
Junior guard Quintin Stephens, coming off a successful football season in the fall, returns after scoring 8.2 points per game a season ago. He is the top returning scorer from last winter, and figures to be a major piece in the offense once again, both as a scorer and ball-handler.
“The goal of our team is to qualify for a spot in the District 11 tournament, as well as the Colonial League tournament,” Weaver said. “And to continue to get better as the season progresses.
“The league is deep and balanced. Our division has the defending league champ in Southern Lehigh, as well as the defending district champ in Palmerton. The East Division has perennial powers Bangor, Notre Dame and Wilson. We are going to be challenged every night in this league, and we need to be able to respond.”
One of those graduates was point guard Sean Snyder, a leader for the Falcons over his career who averaged 9.1 points per game last winter. Senior Patrick Foley figures to slide into that full-time point guard role. Foley is a gifted three-point specialist.
Tommy Sylvester (6.6 points per game) and Jack Frankenfield (4.4) are two others that have since moved on from the blue and white, but Weaver has plenty of depth to hopefully fill those voids.
Junior forward Quinn Warmkessel, who averaged just under six points per game, returns as a starter in the frontcourt as Salisbury’s best rebounder. And seniors Joe Panariello (5.9) and Trey Weber (5.4) provide experience and three-point shooting ability at the guard positions.
“Our strength is our depth,” Weaver said. “We have fives players returning that averaged between 5-8 points per game. We also have a fair amount of players with varsity experience. We have a great group of players that enjoy to play together and work together.”
Junior Chad Parton is a newcomer that will provide instant hustle and grit off the bench immediately. Senior Donovan Zong, juniors Danny Scialla and Sean Tyler, and sophomores Scott Monahan and Hunter Bleam also figure to play pivotal roles throughout the season.
One area that Weaver believes the Falcons must address, however, is their ability to take care of the basketball.
“We need to handle the ball better and cut down on turnovers,” Weaver said. “We also need to work hard individually and as a team to get better defensively.”
Salisbury opens its season against Blue Mountain on Friday at home at 7:15 p.m. The Falcons will then travel to Oley Valley the following day, and then open its Colonial League slate on Monday at Pen Argyl.