Boys miss out on trip to states, fall to Falcons
It wasn’t long ago that Bethlehem Catholic nearly tasted a berth for the state playoffs. But their overtime loss to No. 1 seeded Pottsville in the semifinals put those plans on hold, as least for the time being.
With another opportunity to crack the state field on the table with Friday’s consolation game against No. 2 Salisbury, Becahi looked to be on their way midway through the fourth quarter as it held a 52-45 lead. The Falcons had been held to just two points over the first half of the final frame.
But from that point on, the tides began to turn to Salisbury’s favor. The Falcons ended the game by scoring the final 11 points to secure the third and final PIAA Class 3A playoff spot with a 56-52 victory over the Hawks on Friday night at Allen High School’s Sewards Gymnasium.
“We didn’t want this season to end,” Salisbury head coach Jason Weaver said. “We made the right plays. And maybe that’s what we learned a little bit from Tuesday night [against Blue Mountain]. But we executed down the stretch.”
The Hawks finished their season 14-11 under head coach Ray Barbosa.
After Salisbury’s Jack Reichenbach scored two consecutive field goals to cut the Hawks’ lead to 52-49 late, the Falcons found themselves with a fighter’s chance after trailing by seven points just moments earlier.
And when Blake Jones caught the ball on the left wing with roughly a minute left on the clock still trailing by three, most people inside the crowded Allen gymnasium likely expected a potential game-tying three-pointer to fly. Instead, Jones fooled everyone, even the Golden Hawks’ defense.
Jones, after a brief hesitation behind the arc, drove for a layup and hit the game-tying free throw after getting fouled with 58.3 seconds left. Becahi had a wide open opportunity from Julian Spigner on their next possession, but his missed dunk ended up in Tevon Weber’s hands. His two free throws gave Salisbury (21-6) a two-point lead with 43.3 seconds left and a strong defensive stand that resulted in three Hawk misses and a Weber block lifted the Falcons.
“Blake is a smart basketball player,” Weaver said. “I know he hit a couple of threes in the first half and in the second half he wasn’t hitting his shots, but he took advantage. He got the guy off-balanced.”
The Falcons will play District 3 champion Bishop McDevitt on Friday evening.
It looked as if Salisbury’s hopes at qualifying for states were slim coming down the stretch. The Hawks stretched a one-point lead after three quarters to 52-45 with Kewku Dawson-Amoah’s final field goal of his team-leading 17 points.
That spurt came after Micaiah Fraction posted five points in the third quarter that helped erased Salisbury’s largest lead of five points, at 37-32 and 43-38 moments later.
Becahi scored the first basket of the game, a three-pointer from Fraction, and led 18-14 after the first quarter. The Hawks, who took a 27-26 lead into halftime, only trailed for a brief moment in the first half at 21-20 when Jones hit his second three-pointer of the game.
Fraction was the lone other Hawk in double figures with 10 points.