DANVERS — Even though the halfway point in the basketball season hasn’t been reached the game between Northeastern Conference rivals Danvers and Beverly had all the feel of a playoff tilt.
The host Falcons got off to a great start, faded in the third quarter because of tremendous defensive pressure by Beverly, but rallied to pull out a 65-52 win and remain unbeaten (8-0).
“Beverly is a really good team, and this one could have gone either way,” said Falcons coach John Walsh. “I am so proud of the kids for never getting down and playing so hard at the end. This is a good win for us. We only have two seniors, Kieran Beck and Mark McCarthy. They both played their hearts out.”
The large crowd was really into the game from the start when the Falcons shot out to a 13 point lead. Beverly roared back and after three quarters had a nine point lead, 46-37. The momentum shifted in the third quarter when Bevelry dominated and scored the first 15 points to take the lead for the first time. Jonathan Berchoff, who led all scorers with 25 points, played a key role with two old fashioned three point plays followed by a driving layup to put the Panthers on top, 32-20.
Beverly used a full court man-to-man press to create havoc and cause the Falcons to turn the ball over. They outscored the Falcons, 24-10 in that eight minute span, but it was a complete reversal in the fourth with Danvers enjoying a huge 28-6 advantage.
“We got off to a terrible start, but made some adjustments at halftime that worked,” said Beverly coach Scott Lewis after his team suffered it’s third loss of the young season (4-3). “We were able to get some defensive pressure and up the tempo to our liking. Basketball is a game of runs; we made a nice one, but they came back in the last quarter with one of their own that we couldn’t answer.