It was one of the most competitive winters in Northeastern Conference boys basketball in some years due in large part to the strength of the Division 2 teams in the conference. When the D2 North seedings were released yesterday, it was no surprise that four NEC teams were in the top seven spots and all five NEC teams in the tournament received home games.
New Mission (18-2) is the top team in the D2 North bracket with Danvers coming in as the two seed at 17-3, Salem as the three seed at 16-4, Lynn Classical (13-4) as the four seed and Beverly (15-7) with the seven seed. Marblehead (11-9) is the 15 seed, but will host its first game.
Danvers head coach John Walsh spoke about the depth of D2 earlier in the week.
“Not looking forward to seeing any of those teams. I think Beverly is as good as anybody around, Classical is very tough and Salem already beat us once,” noted Walsh. “The good thing is we’ve played well enough to earn some home games. As long as we win, we should be in our gym.”
Salem skipper Tommy Doyle echoed a similar sentiment.
“There are a lot of good teams in Division 2. There’s no easy games. Every team in the tournament is pretty solid,” said Doyle. “You look at Brighton, the defending champs, and they’re 10-10, and Malden Catholic plays in a tough conference and they’re a lower seed. It’s going to be a tough bracket, but it should make for a great, great tournament.”
The Falcons will host their first game on Wednesday against the winner of the Magicians and no. 18 Chelsea (10-10) which will be played on Monday in Marblehead. Danvers will need consistent play from its consistent contributors in Peter Merry, Devan Harris, Devonn Allen, Rashad Francois, Mark McCarthy and Mike Nestor.