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March 13, 2013

Danvers holds off Martha's Vineyard; will now defend Division 3 state title on Saturday (With Photo Slideshow)

(Continued)

Senior captain Danny Connors (10 points) knows about being calm. He had four fourth quarter points for Danvers and grabbed a crucial defensive rebound with the game tied, 43-43, with two minutes left. Connors struggled shooting free throws early in the regular season, but knocked down both of his freebies after he was fouled on the rebound to give Danvers a lead it would not surrender.

Connors also grabbed a defensive rebound after the Vineyard’s Navardo Anderson couldn’t convert a layup with 30 seconds left and Danvers ahead by four and quickly outletted the ball to McKenna — the Falcons’ best free throw shooter.

The one time the Falcons did rush in the fourth quarter was out of necessity. Ahead by two in the final two minutes, McKenna had to give the ball up to fellow senior captain Eric Martin at the foul line with just two seconds left on the shot clock. Martin quickly heaved the ball at the basket, and it hit back-iron and sank through the nylon to put Danvers ahead by four points with 90 seconds left.

“Nick McKenna had the ball kind of on the wing. He just looked at me and threw it. He said, ‘Shoot!’ so I just caught it, turned and kind of just threw it,” said Martin. “Thank God it went in.”

Izak Browne (17 points) was the only real scoring threat for Martha’s Vineyard in the first half, but was held to just three points in the final two quarters. Leading scorer Jack Roberts didn’t record a bucket in the first half but erupted for 12 points in the second half. However, outside of some sporadic second half scoring from Brandon Watkins, the South champs had no other real scoring threat.

Both teams had trouble rebounding the ball on the defensive side. However, Danvers solved the problem at halftime while Martha’s Vineyard, which rebounded well in the first half, gave up too many second chance opportunities thereafter as the Falcons’ Nick Bates (12 points) established himself on the offensive glass. Kieran Beck too grabbed a big offensive rebound to extend a Danvers possession late in the game.

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