Falcons claw back to beat Bulldogs
Over the past couple of seasons, an early 18-1 deficit is something the Salisbury boys basketball team might not have been able to overcome. That’s the situation the Falcons were in last Friday night on Northern Lehigh’s home court.
But Salisbury clawed its way back to even in the first half, and some clutch free throw shooting and execution down the stretch helped cement a 47-43 victory for Salisbury (3-2 overall, 3-0 in Colonial League).
“I told those guys in the locker room that it’s been a long time since I had a team like this,” head coach Jason Weaver said. “The last couple of years, maybe we would have folded in that situation. It might have been over. I give them a lot of credit to keep battling back and getting a big win. It was our defense that kept us in it.”
Northern Lehigh raced out to that huge lead because of four 3-pointers in the opening frame, including two from Carter Smith. Zach Moyer and Grant Olewine each added one from beyond the arc as the streaky Bulldogs came out of the gates running.
The Falcons, despite not shooting well from the field, relied on their defense over the final three quarters to climb back into the game. The Bulldogs scored just six points in the second quarter, and the Falcons started to hit a couple shots from beyond the arc.
Patrick Foley, Joe Panariello and Trey Weber all hit shots from long range in the frame. A three-point play from Foley knotted the game at 24 all with 1:19 left in the half. And two free throws from Kenyo Herrera put the Falcons in front for the first time heading into the break.
“Kenyo came in that game and brought some energy and some defensive intensity,” Weaver said. “We played Catty on Wednesday night, and we shot the ball really well. We didn’t make shots early on tonight. We were missing, air-balling, and not hitting shots. We have to realize that there are going to be nights like that, but the thing that should be consistent is our defense.”
“It’s outstanding,” Herrera said. “The past two years we haven’t been this good, so it’s good.”
The third quarter featured four ties and two lead changes. Quintin Stephens, who scored seven of his nine points in that third quarter, hit a 3-pointer with 1:47 left to put Salisbury back in front.
The visitors didn’t trail the rest of the way. The Falcons went in front 44-39 in the final minutes when Foley found Herrera inside for a three-point play. Herrera finished with five of his nine points in the fourth quarter, and he also grabbed a clutch offensive rebound down the stretch to close the deal.
“Once they went man-to-man, we tried to slow it down a little bit,” Weaver said. “We ran a great possession. Kenyo had the layup and the foul for the three-point play, and I thought that was huge. That was just us running an offense…I was happy with the execution down the stretch.
“Kenyo was huge. He played with some passion tonight. That’s what Kenyo brings—his energy. He’s excitable, focused and fired up. You need that. There are so many other things you can do other than scoring points that can help you win.”
The Falcons’ foul shooting was also much better after subpar performances in its first two games. Salisbury went 14-of-18 against the Bulldogs.
“It was better all week this week,” Weaver said. “We were 5-of-15 out at Oley Valley, and that was a four-point game going into the fourth quarter. Foul shooting was a lot better [against Northern Lehigh]. Quintin hit the front of one, but Patrick’s were the big two.”
Foley led the Falcons with 12 points. Smith and Olewine each scored 11 for Northern Lehigh.