SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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March 18, 2013

Danvers basketball notebook: Walsh establishes winning tradition

WORCESTER — There’s no denying the level of talent that the Danvers basketball team has produced the past two seasons. From winning its first state title a year ago to becoming the first basketball team in The Salem News coverage area to win back-to-back championships, the Falcons are most definitely on top of the world.

Just a few years ago, the though of Danvers boys basketball winning a state championship would have been unheard of. Now, they have two.

“I love it here at Danvers,” said head coach John Walsh. “Everybody knows that in the beginning it was a little rocky, (but) after that it’s been wonderful.

“I’d be lying if I said I came in with this plan to win two state titles; that wasn’t it. These kids have played enough basketball in their careers for me to believe that there was a chance for us this year. We have a great bunch a kids and they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them through summer and fall leagues. I’m really happy for them because it’s a bond they’ll have for the rest of their lives.”

With Saturday’s win, Danvers (24-2) set a new school record for most wins in a single tournament season with six, topping last year’s total of five.

Since Walsh took over in 2010, the program has exceeded all expectations. Danvers hadn’t won more than one tournament game in a single season before Walsh arrived, but his philosophy and style changed all of that. In his tenure, the Falcons are 13-1 in the postseason.

“Coach Walsh is a phenomenal coach and he came in expecting to win. He didn’t want excuses,” said senior captain Dan Connors. “I think we really listened to that and heard what he said, especially the group of seniors. We were able to come up with some big wins to repeat.

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