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Girls drop opener vs. PA

Despite the Salisbury girls basketball team’s 19-point loss to Pen Argyl on its home court to open the season, head coach Dan Reichenbach was pleased with the fight his team showed.

The Falcons, which trailed by 12 points after the first quarter and by as many as 16 in the second, fought their way back.

The hosts ultimately couldn’t take the lead, but were able to cut the Green Knights’ deficit to single digits on a number of occasions before suffering a 57-39 setback.

“I like the fact that we got behind, but we didn’t quit,” Reichenbach said. “The girls turned it up a notch and started to play defense. They have to realize that they can hustle and play defense, and shut their player down and take away passes.”

Salisbury’s start wasn’t pretty. The Falcons shot just 2-for-8 in the first quarter and turned the ball over 10 times, resulting in an 18-6 deficit.

Things only got worse early in the second quarter. Pen Argyl opened up its largest lead at 24-8 just minutes into the frame. But Reichenbach’s crew had some fight left.

Sierra Rauch provided the spark.

The junior guard hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut the Green Knights’ lead in half, and the Falcons were within 31-21 at the break. Rauch had eight of the Falcons’ 21 points at intermission, while junior forward Krystal Aungst also had an impressive stretch after senior Madison Bettuccio left the game in the first quarter due to injury.

Aungst scored five points and collected six rebounds in the second quarter.

“We are young,” Reichenbach said. “[Bettuccio] is the only senior, so that is going to hurt us because of her senior leadership and post presence. But we’re trying to build for the future here with a sophomore point guard and a bunch of juniors.”

Rauch open the second half with another 3-pointer that got the Falcons within single digits once again. Then, Quinn Wittman hit a jumper and Salisbury clawed back to 32-26 with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

Pen Argyl, however, always seemed to have an answer. A three-point play from Rachel Sutton on the next possession gave the Green Knights their double-digit cushion back. A jumper from Brooke LaBarre (who finished with a game-high 18 points) moments later increased that lead to 39-26.

The Green Knights led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter.

“For awhile there we cut it to about eight,” Reichenbach said. “We were playing defense and getting turnovers; that is what we are going to have to do.

“We got a bunch of girls on the bench, and we are just trying to find the right combinations. The girls that want to play defense, they play hard. Like I said before, points are going to be tough to come by because a lot of these girls don’t have experience.”

Wittman and Rauch each scored 11 points to lead Salisbury.