Boys survive until late Sunday
Judging by the way the Salisbury boys' basketball team made its way through last week's Stellar "Catch A Rising Star" Basketball Showcase, you wouldn't think it had graduated all five starters from last year's team.
But while replacing senior starters at every position is certainly a heavy task for head coach Jason Weaver, the Falcons' run in Stellar raised a few eyebrows in the crowd.
Following two consecutive wins in the winner's bracket, a defeat to eventual final-four opponent Emmaus on Saturday pitted the Falcons with a loss heading into play on Sunday. However, wins over West York and Dieruff advanced the Falcons to a quarterfinal matchup against Trinity in the loser's bracket, a spot where Salisbury's run came to an end.
"With this team coming in, it's just about competing and playing good games against good competition," Weaver said. "It's more so our confidence and us playing together is what we're looking for. I think it's been strong. Guys are stepping up."
It took two overtimes in their first game against Warren Hills, but that victory seemed to give the Falcons a level of confidence that soared as the tournament progressed.
The next day, the Falcons used a well-balanced scoring output, a sign of what might be to come in the winter season, in defeating North Penn (41-32) to go to 2-0. Dasheen Reid led the Falcons with eight points. Tevon Weber, Jaxson Costello and Dylan Belletiere all pitched in with seven.
"We played them [Warren Hills] down at the DeSales camp about three weeks ago, and it was all overtime games," Weaver said. "We played them twice and it went to overtime in both games.
"It was a good game in that we blew a big lead, and then we were able to come back and finish it out, which was a good confidence builder. I try not to get too on them, but I think it was a good learning experience."
A struggle offensively against Emmaus resulted in a 27-16 defeat in a late Saturday game.
But that 9 a.m. contest Sunday morning started a lengthy run that lasted into the afternoon hours. After defeating West York, the Falcons advanced one more round with a win by ending Dieruff's run, 46-25.
Undoubtedly, the Falcons' main point of interest has been to build chemistry throughout the summer months. Only Bryce Fairclough, Brendan Reichenbach and Reid saw quality varsity minutes last season.
For the rest, it's a new experience that will only see their confidence grow with time. The Stellar tournament and upcoming SportsFest "A-Town Throwdown" tournament, in addition to their play in the Stellar Basketball Summer League, are runways to begin that build.
"We had a nice little stretch," Weaver said in regards to the North Penn game. "They cut it to six or seven points, and we put in some subs and extended the lead to 14 or 15. Tevon Weber, Romario [Benitez], and Charley [Rogers] were in. We made good decisions tonight.
Their play in the summer league will continue after SportsFest, and the Falcons hope to build off that confidence that's continuously been growing.
"We have good games and we have some frustrating games," Weaver said. "I think we're getting better, and we're playing together more. For most of these guys, it's about playing varsity level basketball."