July 19, 2019
By: Erica Rose
Summer league basketball is one of those things you can take with a grain of salt. Don’t get me wrong, the teams take it seriously, it’s definitely exciting, but guys are missing, and it’s a great chance for both players and assistant coaches to gain experience. Last night was the final night of the regular season for Cedar Beach action (which has probably been played more at other sites then at the actual park). Hard to believe we are already at that point, but last night’s game between Southern Lehigh and Salisbury in the small school division capped the season with an exclamation point!
The Spartans entered the night undefeated at 10-0; the Falcons at 8-2 and they were looking forward to this match. It was an exciting one right from the opening tip as the teams were draining 3’s left and right. Southern Lehigh had 7 alone in the first 20 minutes of play. But, the Falcons were hanging right in there. Trailing 17-9 early on, a 7-0 run would bring it within at 17-16, but again the Spartans would pull away going up by as many as 8 midway through the half. They would only score 2 more points in the final 10 minutes, and a steal and layup by Quinn Warmkessel as time expired made it just a 3-point game at 28-25.
The second half was no different. The two continued to battle, both shooting very well. Southern Lehigh’s Daryl Coleman led all scorers with 22 points, but it was Salisbury’s Trey Webber who had a huge 2nd half. Webber scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including 7 straight – putting his team on top at 44-43, for the first time since 9-8. He was also the one to extend it to 46-43, but then he would foul out with a little over 2 minutes to play. I thought this would hurt the team, but I was wrong. A deep 3 by Liam Gaughan put the Spartans back on top with 28 seconds to go 48-46, but the Falcons would have the ball in their hands late. Credit both teams, because the Spartans played great defense and got the block, but Warmkessel stayed with it and drew the foul, knocking down his two free throws to send the game to OT.
Quinton Stephens would open up overtime with a 3, putting Salisbury up 51-48 and they would never trail again, although the Spartans made it exciting. Nearly a midcourt 3 by Coleman brought the game within 1, and he would later have the chance to send it to double OT when he drew the foul with no time on the clock, but he would miss the first free throw allowing the Falcons to escape with the 53-51 victory.
The Falcons saw plenty of guys step up in last nights win, they would finish with 7 guys on the board and 9 different players would see playing time. Stephens would also finish with 12 points. Head coach Jason Weaver was really happy with his team’s performance, both offensively and defensively. The team knows they can shoot, they did it all last year, but it was the defense that he believes was the difference maker last night.
The teams have a week off, and the playoffs begin on Tuesday July 30th. Six teams from the Small School Division make the playoffs, so both Southern Lehigh and Salisbury will continue playing. The Spartans will more then likely have a first round bye.