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Falcons go 1-1 in tourney

Coming out of the winter break, the Salisbury boys basketball team is in position to contend in the Colonial League.

The Falcons (4-3 overall, 3-1 Colonial League) battled through some injuries to finish second at their annual holiday tournament last week and will now enter a crucial part of their league schedule.

“We’ve just got to keep getting better,” said Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver. “We’re in a decent spot, but we’ve got to keep working hard to get better. We can’t be satisfied with where we’re at. I’m certainly not satisfied. I know these guys aren’t satisfied. We’re going to keep getting better.”

The Falcons took on Northampton in last week’s tournament final Wednesday evening and were short one starter and two players from their regular rotation as they fell to the Kids 52-37.

Northampton jumped out to an 8-0 first-quarter lead and Salisbury played from behind the entire game.

The Falcons used a 12-3 run to tie the game at 14-14 on a Hunter Bleam basket with 5:15 left in the first half, but the Kids answered with a run of their own and were ahead 25-24 before a Jackson Lopez three-pointer late in the second quarter cut the lead to 25-17 at halftime.

Salisbury tried to chip away at the lead in the third quarter and had it down to 28-23 before Northampton’s Isaac Harris drained three straight three-pointers in less than two minutes late in the quarter to extend the lead to 37-23.

The Kid’s lead was never less than eight points in the fourth quarter.

Harris led Northampton with a game-high 27 points, while teammate Lucas Lesko added 11 points.

Bleam led Salisbury with 11 points in the game. Tyson Utesch and Chase Fenstermaker had eight points each.

Salisbury reached the tournament title game by beating Saucon Valley, 60-44, Tuesday’s first round.

Utesch scored 21 points in the win over the Panthers, while Bleam added 13 points and Jake Zellin and Chase Fenstermaker had 10 points each.

Lopez missed all of the Saucon Valley game and starting guard Kyle Artis suffered an injury early in the game that forced him to miss the rest of the tournament. Josiah Day has been out with an injury for several games. While it makes things difficult for the time being, it also helps more players gain experience they could need in the coming weeks and months.

“I was really happy watching us play,” Weaver said of tournament. “Watching young guys step up [Tuesday] was the most encouraging thing I took away. We’re missing a bunch of varsity guys. I was really impressed. Jake Zellin and Jairo Suarez stepped up and played some major varsity minutes for us. Tyson Utesch was steady and smooth.”

Salisbury returned to Colonial League action this week with a game against Northwestern Tuesday.

After that, games against Palmerton (Thursday), Moravian Academy (Friday) and Notre Dame of Green Pond (Monday, Jan. 10) will provide a solid test for the Falcons as the team returns to full strength. The Tigers (3-0) and Crusaders (4-0) both entered this week without a league loss this season.

All-Tournament Team

Harris was named the Salisbury Holiday Tournament MVP for his performance.

The rest of the all-tournament team included Kyle Rosenberger (Quakertown), Jack Robertson (Saucon Valley), Lucas Lesko (Northampton), Bleam and Utesch.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Tyson Utesch scored 29 points in a pair of tournament games last week, including a 21-point effort in the Falcons' win over Saucon Valley.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZJake Zellin makes a pass around a Northampton defender during the Salisbury Holiday Tournament.