SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

February 18, 2014

In the Paint: North Shore boys teams geared up for postseason play

The boys basketball postseason pairings will be released Friday, and nearly all of the teams in The Salem News coverage area will be participating.

Here’s a quick rundown on what to watch for:

DIVISION 1

St. John’s Prep (16-4)

The Good: The Eagles are capable of emerging from a strong Division 1 North bracket. It all comes down to playing defense and taking care of the basketball. After defeating St. John’s last weekend, Central Catholic coach Ricky Nault said, “They might be the team to beat in the North.” When they’re not playing well, however, head coach John Dullea said they’re just “average.” That being said, everyone knows how hard it is to defend a team with three scorers; it becomes increasingly difficult when those three scorers are all perimeter guys. That’s exactly what the Eagles have in guards Ben Judson, Max Burt and Kareem Davis.

The Bad: St. John’s is talented and well-coached, and those two things on their own produce regular season wins. It takes something more to win in the postseason. If St. John’s suffers through turnover spells, advancing will become very difficult.

The Outlook: It’s hard to call any team a favorite in Div. 1 North, but there are a handful of contenders. The Prep is one of those teams along with Central Catholic, Andover, Lynn English and maybe Everett.

DIVISION 2

Danvers (16-2)

The Good: Danvers may have wrapped up its second straight Division 3 state title last March, but the Falcons officially became a powerhouse this season. Returning almost no experience, Danvers was supposed to come back to earth — but it didn’t happen. And don’t count on that happening any time soon. John Walsh has complete command over this program, and you’d have a hard time finding a more prepared team in the state. Making the jump to Division 2 is going to be difficult, but the Falcons aren’t just happy to be there. Walsh will make sure they’re ready to play.

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