, Salem, MA


March 19, 2013

Danvers basketball notebook: Falcons more prepared than their opponents

WORCESTER — Hearing Nick McKenna talk about his team’s preparation, it almost seemed as if the Danvers High boys basketball team didn’t get any sleep before games.

“Not at all ... we live in the gym,” McKenna smiled after scoring 20 points in his team’s 66-50 win over Smith Academy Saturday afternoon at the DCU Center.

The Falcons captured their second straight Division 3 state title because of skill, chemistry and, most importantly, hard work.

Coach John Walsh explores every possible angle when preparing for an opponent, and that approach always stuck out when Danvers was closing out its postseason opponents.

“It’s unbelievable. Coach Walsh, all he does is watch film. He’ll leave practice and watch the same game five times and just scout and scout and scout,” McKenna said. “He knows every single move of every player.

“We had a ton of film on (state semifinal opponent) Martha’s Vineyard. We watched probably six or seven of their games and we had two or three games for Smith Academy. We know the personnel pretty well and try to use the scouting to our advantage.”

The effort level was extremely high from the moment Walsh walked through the gym doors three years ago, and it hasn’t dropped.

“You can’t take days off and we didn’t get many over the season,” senior point guard Eric Martin said. “People complained about it, but everyone pushed through and it shows how hard you have to work (to repeat). This whole group worked as hard as they could.”

McKenna and Martin are two perfect examples of how Walsh’s preparation pays off.

McKenna is Danvers’ most consistent offensive threat, but not many opponents would think of him as a defensive stopper. Yet there he was on Saturday frustrating Smith Academy’s Mat Sulda, the team’s top scorer.

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