A number of area teams have already qualified for the district playoffs even though that tournament is still a month down the road. The Allen and Emmaus boys basketball teams, both who are ranked in the state Class 6A rankings, have already cemented a spot.
But when those district tournaments tip off on Feb. 21, the scene will look slightly different than in years past. The biggest change fans will notice is the increase from four PIAA classifications to six based on student enrollment numbers.
Last week’s rivalry game against Southern Lehigh would prove to be a solid measuring stick for how Salisbury stacked up against the league’s top competition. But once over, no other game this season left Jason Weaver as disappointed as last Wednesday.
After Salisbury took a six-point lead through eight minutes, Southern Lehigh outscored Salisbury 26-13 in the second quarter to gain full control. The Spartans did not let off the gas pedal, defeating the Falcons on their home court by a 67-53 final score.
Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver has had plenty of gifted shooters during his career at the helm of the Falcons. But no group may be more talented than this year’s team.
And when opponents are running a zone defense, it plays right into Salisbury’s hands. Take last week’s pivotal Colonial League meeting with Moravian Academy for example.
Moravian’s zone defense couldn’t slow down Salisbury’s red-hot shooting. The Falcons (4-1) hit nine 3-pointers, had scored 40 points by halftime, and downed the Lions 74-58, last Thursday at Salisbury High School.
The opening couple of weeks to the season have been tough on the scoreboard for the Salisbury wrestling team. The Falcons weren’t dealt any favors as they were paired against some of the top teams in the Colonial League.
First it was a meeting with Catasauqua for Salisbury’s home and season opener, but unfortunately it was the Rough Riders who came away with the 65-12 victory. Then, Salisbury hosted Saucon Valley a week later, with the Panthers rolling to an 81-0 victory.
Like a lot of Eastern Pennsylvania Conference teams, it had been a long time since Emmaus beat the four-time District 11 champ Parkland boys basketball team. The Hornets’ last win against Parkland came back on January 15 of 2013, before anyone on the current Emmaus team had yet reached high school.
But that changed last week when the two teams met up for the first time this winter season.
Salisbury doesn’t have the number of swimmers that some of the other area’s schools do. But there’s no question about the Falcon swimmers’ dedication and willingness to put the team before individual goals.
One case in point came in their season opener against Blue Mountain, a rescheduled meet that took place last Friday at KidsPeace Broadway. Salisbury may have lost both the boys (106-72) and girls (107-65) meets, but many of individual swimmers had solid starts to the winter season.
Salisbury knew it wanted to get out to a quick lead. Much like its 15-point lead against Bangor earlier in the week, the Lady Falcons understood just how important a fast start would be in Friday’s game against Palmerton.
Salisbury girls basketball head coach Joe Mladosich knew he would implement full-court pressure at times throughout the season. And after struggling offensively in the first quarter of the season-opener against Dieruff, Mladosich turned to a press in hopes of sparking the offense.
It didn’t take long to see how effective Salisbury can be when its pressure is turned up and dialed in.
Head coach Jason Weaver knew he would be able to find out a lot about his team in just the first week of the season. Salisbury boys basketball opened the winter season with road games against Blue Mountain and Bangor, teams that the Falcons lost to in the district semifinals and Colonial League championship game, respectively, a season ago.
While going 1-1 over that stretch, Weaver was pleased at how his squad has opened 2017 despite losing three starters from last year’s state tournament team.
Kyle Gonoude’s journey in 2016 wasn’t an easy one. The past couple of months didn’t come without some adversity.
Gonoude, a 2015 Salisbury graduate and one of the school’s top runners of all time, has been dealing with a hamstring injury since last winter. That injury resurfaced when DeSales’ cross country season opened this past fall.