“It’s incredible what they’ve done. Duncan was the Defensive co-MVP of the Year in Northeastern Conference football; you don’t get many kids like him. It would be so easy for him to walk away because he doesn’t play as much (in basketball) as he would probably like,” Walsh said. “He’s one of the most-liked kids on the team, a phenomenal athlete and great student. He shows up every day. Without kids like him, we don’t get to where we are.”
The group of senior reserves aren’t disruptive; rather, their contributions in practice have helped the Falcons become better.
“Our practices are very demanding and the fact they stick through it and give 100 percent says something for their character,” Walsh said. “They show up every day, don’t have attitude problems, and they help us get better. They’re fantastic.”
Danvers’ effort and focus in practice has paid off late in games, especially the last two against Wayland in the North final and Martha’s Vineyard in the state semifinal.
The Falcons weren’t able to run away from either squad and have needed big plays down the stretch to win both games. In each instance, players have come off the bench to make things happen, whether it’s Cawlina or junior forward Kieran Beck.
“Someone steps up, a different person every game,” Connors said. “Cawlina did against Wayland, Nick McKenna made two huge free throws (against Martha’s Vineyard), Eric made a big shot at the foul line and Bates came up with some big rebounds. It’s just been a complete team effort.”
It’s been a team effort ever since Walsh walked through the door at Danvers High. Now, only one step remains for the team to reach its goal.
“It’s awesome,” McKenna said. “It’s what we’ve been working for all year, all fall, all summer. We’ve all been working for this, and it’s exactly what we were looking for.”