SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

March 21, 2013

In The Paint boys basketball column: Putting a wrap on the boys hoop season

For three years in a row, the North Shore boys basketball season has ended with a local team being crowned state champs.

Does anyone need any more proof that this is one of the best areas for boys basketball in Massachusetts?

Danvers has done the job the last two years after St. John’s Prep picked up its first state championship in 2011.

Some might argue that those titles were due in large part to the specific group of players on those teams. St. John’s had current Notre Dame starter Pat Connaughton when it won the title, and, for the most part, Danvers was made up of the same core of players for both titles.

There’s no question that the players made the difference, but throughout the tournament this winter, Danvers coach John Walsh praised the Northeastern Conference for preparing his team. No matter what a postseason opponent threw at the Falcons, Walsh’s crew was ready. The coach felt that the varying styles played throughout the NEC boosted his team’s performance. So in a sense, a small portion of this title should be shared with the NEC.

At any rate, it’s time to start looking back on the season — and start looking ahead to next year. Could the North Shore make it four straight years with a state title?

The Wait ’Til Next Year Team

Some young players have already arrived, like St. John’s Prep’s Ben Judson, Danvers’ Vinny Clifford and Hamilton-Wenham’s James Foye, and others only showed flashes of what they might become. Here are five players who could be ready to break out next year:

Jamie Dominguez, Salem, Jr. G. Became an extremely valuable reserve for the Witches over the second half of the season. He can handle the ball and score. His role will increase dramatically next season.

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