Story first appeared in the Jan. 6, 2016 edition of The Salisbury Press and appeared on thelehighvalleypress.com later that day.
With the new year being rung in, many like to start anew in the next calendar year.
The Salisbury boys’ basketball team picked right up where it left off in 2015 as the Falcons (8-0 overall, 5-0 CL) remained undefeated after picking up a 63-51 win against Northwestern in a Colonial League game at Northwestern Lehigh High School on Saturday afternoon.
“We talked about it in the locker room that we can’t have sloppy play,” Falcon head coach Jason Weaver said. “The first quarter was nice, we were up 22-8, but they then fought back. I think being on the road was a factor. Our guys fought back. We were in a dogfight. It was a battle.”
Early on it seemed as though the Falcons would enjoy an easy test to open up the second part of the regular season after dominating the first quarter. However, the Tigers had other ideas, surging back in the second quarter.
Northwestern jumped out to a 5-2 run early in the second quarter, aiding their climb out of the early deficit. Salisbury struggled offensively in the frame, tallying only six points.
Thanks to its sizable first-quarter lead, the Falcons held a 28-22 advantage at the half.
The Tigers held senior Tevon Weber scoreless in the second frame and made the three-sport star a nonfactor in the contest. Weber finished with only two points, a basket he scored in the first quarter, and fouled out of the game with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
“It showed that we have some guys,” Weaver said of playing without Weber as a big contributor. “Blake Jones started for us because our other starter Ryan Slutsky didn’t play today. Then Tev picked up a lot of fouls. A lot of guys stepped up. [Chad Cooperman] and Dylan Belletiere didn’t come out [of the game] today. I think they played great defense and I think we moved the ball. I think it was a team effort, but it makes it difficult without Tev.”
Cooperman scored nine points while Belletiere chipped in 19 for the Falcons. Junior Jaxon Costello led all scorers in the contest with 24 points.
Salisbury led the entire first half and most of the third quarter, but Northwestern climbed back into the contest. The Tigers tied the game at 38 with 28 seconds left after freshman reserve Sam Yadush connected on a three-pointer.
Weaver believed his squad allowed Northwestern to dictate the game during that third frame.
Salisbury clung to a 40-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter and pulled away early in the final frame as the Falcons went on a 10-2 scoring run in the first 4:22 of the quarter. Following the run, the closest Northwestern got the rest of the way was 10 points.
Now that Salisbury enters the second half of the season, Weaver said his team needs to prepare for a difficult upcoming schedule. The Falcosn will face the league’s other two undefeated teams this week when they host Bangor Tuesday and Southern Lehigh on Saturday.
“We have to get better if this team is serious about playing beyond the regular season and competing for titles,” he said. “We have to keep getting better both offensively and defensively. We can’t be satisfied.”