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Sports

March 15, 2013

Pointed in the right direction: Falcons' rise to power has been a team effort

The numbers are staggering.

Over the last three seasons, the Danvers boys basketball program has produced a 57-16 record, including an absurd 12-1 postseason mark. The Falcons have won games by an average of 24.7 points, and tomorrow they’ll have a chance to make it two straight Division 3 state championships when they play Smith Academy of Hatfield at the DCU Center in Worcester.

It’s not a coincidence that the Falcons had a major turnaround when John Walsh was hired as head coach three years ago. Danvers had failed to even qualify for the tournament in the previous five seasons and the program wasn’t known as a threat in the Northeastern Conference, let alone on a statewide level.

Still, Walsh spins the credit in another direction.

“It’s such a tribute to the senior class,” Walsh said. “They’ve improved so much in such a short time. They deserve so much credit for working so hard; they’ve done everything we asked them to do.”

Walsh isn’t just talking about his four senior starters.

Eric Martin and Nick Bates have been starting since their sophomore year at Danvers High, and Danny Connors was a part-time varsity player in Walsh’s first season. Nick McKenna transferred to Danvers from St. John’s Prep for his junior year, and since then that quartet has helped the Falcons go 44-6.

The stats and production may tell a different story, but Walsh and those seniors know the strength of the senior class goes deeper.

Jake Cawlina, Duncan d’Hemecourt, Justin Woodbury and Evan Eldridge have each had varying degrees of playing time and in-game success this season. Regardless of how much time or how many points they have scored, each senior has played a major role in raising the bar for the Danvers basketball program.

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