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Blue Bombers avenge tourney loss

Just four days after Salisbury defeated Palmerton in the small school division championship game of the Bash at the Beach tournament, the two teams met once again in the Cedar Beach Summer League last week.

The script was a bit different this time around.

Salisbury’s offense went silent in the second half, and Palmerton capitalized on it. The Blue Bombers avenged their only loss in the tournament with a 39-26 win over the Falcons last Thursday at Cedar Beach Park.

“I think our energy level wasn’t there,” Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver said. “We were a little flat. We scored seven points in the second half, and that’s when we got killed on the boards. And a lot of times we weren’t even matched up on guys. We got down and offensively it became one pass and fire a three.”

Weaver admitted that the loss may have opened the Falcons’ eyes a bit after such an impressive run a few days ago.

“I told the guys maybe this is a good thing,” Weaver said. “We just won the tournament, we’re playing well, and this tells us that there’s a lot more work that we need to do. We can’t be satisfied. We can’t just come out here and think, ‘Oh we won the tournament, so we’re going to beat people.’”

The Falcons got off to a fast start, seemingly building off their momentum from their championship a few days before. Quintin Stephens finished a strong take at the basket for a quick 7-2 lead. And then Trey Weber drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to put Salisbury back in front moments later at 15-13.

But Palmerton finished the half on a 10-4 spurt. Kody Kratzer scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in that first half. The rest of the Blue Bombers combined for just eight points in the half.

In the second half, a lack of boxing out and a rushed offense was the Falcons’ downfall. Josh Mooney’s rebound and put back gave the Blue Bombers the first basket of the second half. After Patrick Foley’s three-pointer got the Falcons within just two points, the Blue Bombers finished the game on a 12-1 spurt. Owen Buck secured another rebound and put back chance on a non-box out from Salisbury, and another Blue Bomber rebound and scored off a missed free throw sealed the victory in the final minutes.

Unlike their play in the tournament when they won four games on the final day, the Falcons’ defense wasn’t up to par in the second half against Palmerton.

“I didn’t really see us getting tired, which was pretty good,” Weaver said of the tournament. “We played a lot of guys a lot of minutes. We didn’t go as deep as we did in some of the summer league games. In stretches of those games we played really well defensively, and that was the key. When we are holding people in the 40s, we can win games.”

Weber and Foley each scored six points in the loss to Palmerton.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBQuinn Warmkessel blocks a shot during last week's game against Palmerton. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_