“It was a lot tougher than last year. I never expected it would be this hard to repeat,” said Martin, the indefatigable point guard who had 11 points in the title game. “Every single team we played after the first round gave us a fight. We had to bring it every game and couldn’t coast through games like we did sometimes during the regular season.”
So now that Danvers has secured its place in history, where does the program go from here?
For one thing, it’s bumping up from Division 3 to Division 2 next year. On paper, anyway, that makes things a bit tougher. But with Walsh as head coach, the Falcons feel they have a fighting chance in every contest.
It was interesting after the championship game to hear 17 and 18-year old kids bring up the coach’s name without being coaxed into talking about him. The players feel he’s a difference maker and have bought into his system.
“We’re moving into Division 2 next season but with coach Walsh here and those (younger) kids going up against us every day in practice, I think they’re going to be OK,” said Martin. “It’s really a high level of practice every day and with coach Walsh, the kids aren’t going to take days off.
“We (seniors) haven’t talked to (the underclassmen) yet, but we’ll tell them that the program needs to stay up. We don’t want it to go backwards to where it was 10 years ago or when no one paid attention.”
Walsh comes from a winning background. For five years he was an assistant at Watertown, a consistent program. He’s got Danvers doing things that even its most ardent fans couldn’t have dreamed about a few years ago, and he just wants consistency and effort and commitment from his teams — no matter what the talent level is.