Salisbury’s girls basketball team has faced some top competition through the early part of the 2016-17 season.
The Lady Falcons’ (4-5 overall, 2-3 Colonial League) five losses have come to teams with a combined record of 31-7. None of the losses have come by more than eight points.
Their most recent and closest loss came last week in the final of the Salisbury Holiday Tournament. And it came against what might be the best team Salisbury has faced all season.
It took Allen (6-1) an overtime period to hold off the Falcons and earn this year’s tournament crown.
Despite last week’s shut-out loss that dropped Salisbury to 2-6 this season, the Falcons still took some positives away from the game.
Head coach Andy Cerco said most of his players gave a good effort and performed their roles successfully. But in football, all 11 players need to fulfill their assignments or the result will look like last week’s 28-0 loss to Northern Lehigh.
Last year Northwestern and Salisbury met twice in the boys soccer postseason. They were two of the best teams in the Colonial League and were the last two standing when the District 11 Class 2A championship game came around.
This year the two are again among the best teams in the Colonial League. They met last week for their first and only regular season game. They played to a 1-1- draw that allowed both to escape without suffering the first loss on their 2016 schedule.
The Salisbury football team has two primary goals this season. One involves its play on the field, the other does not. But the two are related.
The Falcons want to keep their program moving forward. And they want to do it while honoring the memory of assistant coach Andy Doran, who died last season at the age of 33.
“I asked our players to design a t-shirt,”said Falcon head coach Andy Cerco. “They wanted to make it commemorative of [Doran]. The slogan on the back says ‘Continue what we started’ and it says ‘Coach Doran’ on the bottom. They want to do it for him.”
Salisbury’s football team took a big step last season in qualifying for the District 11 playoffs.
This season the Falcons want even more. And the quest for a return to the postseason begins Friday night against an up-and-coming Catasauqua team.
“They’re much improved from last year,” said Falcon head coach Tony Cerco. “They’re bigger up front. They’re faster. They’re more disciplined. They’ve done a great job at Catasauqua in taking those kids from where they were at when coach (Phil) Dorn arrived to where they are now. They’re a much better team.”
This year’s McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star football game is set for Thursday.
Two Salisbury High School players were selected to play for the Red team in this year’s contest.
Tevon Weber and Devin Irwin were selected from a Falcons team that earned a district playoff berth last fall.
“I talked to people that have played before and they say it’s a great environment,” said Weber. “You make friendships for the rest of your life.”
The proceeds from the game go to McDonald’s charities and the players take pride in helping that cause.
Winning close district playoff baseball games comes down to taking advantage of the opportunities presented.
North Schuylkill didn’t have as many opportunities as Salisbury last week in their District 11 Class 2A semifinal. But the Spartans made the most of the few they did get in beating the Falcons 2-1 in extra innings.
“We had a couple opportunities,” said Salisbury head coach Mike Pochron. “I guess we give their pitchers credit that they got out of the jams. They walked the first two batters of the game and they got out of that jam.
At one point early in spring, the postseason seemed nearly out of reach for the Salisbury baseball team. But after a late-season hot streak got them into the district tournament, the Falcons opened with an outstanding performance in the first round, beating Minersville 3-2 thanks to a stellar performance from pitcher Chad Cooperman and his supporting cast.
The senior struck out 11 Battling Miners and scattered eight hits while walking just two, although his best play in the game might have been a simple base running tactic that helped his team go ahead 2-0 early in the game.
No one could have expected Salisbury’s softball season to end the way it did.
The Falcons had recently finished their best season in recent memory, going 14-6 overall and 11-6 in the Colonial League to earn their first league playoff berth since 2004.
Despite heading into their first District 11 playoff game as the No. 9 seed, Salisbury stepped onto the field against No. 8 seed Pine Grove last week feeling like the better team and looking like it for most of the Class 2A quarterfinal game on the Cardinals’ home field.
Mahlon Reihman won two gold medals in individual events and set one district and pool record at last weekend’s District 11 Class 2A Championship meet at Parkland High School.
But that wasn’t the best thing he did at this year’s meet.
Heading into the final leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay, the last event of the two-day meet, Reihman dove into the pool three seconds behind the Mahanoy Area team that was leading.