SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

March 6, 2014

Harris powers Danvers to narrow win over Belmont

BEVERLY — No matter who the opponent, there is always an advantage that the Danvers High boys basketball team has late in games.

It’s a calm confidence that has developed through the Falcons’ recent postseason domination — and it was on display last night at Henry Cabot Lodge Fieldhouse.

Behind a monster game from junior forward Devan Harris, the Falcons survived a major scare from Belmont, winning 62-59 in a Division 2 North semifinal.

The Falcons will play for the North title for the third consecutive year Saturday (time TBA) at Lowell’s Tsongas Center against the winner of tonight’s Lynn Classical/New Mission game.

Danvers, which has now won 14 straight postseason games, owes a lot to Harris, who simply couldn’t be stopped under the basket. The bruising power forward tied a career-high with 35 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, 12 on the offensive end.

“We tried to run as much as possible and hopefully you run somebody up and down so fast that maybe they’re not going to be as aggressive on the boards,” Belmont (18-7) coach Adam Pritchard said about Harris. “Obviously, he’s a terrific high school basketball player. Especially when you have a physical advantage like that in high school, it really shows up.”

Harris took advantage of Danvers’ set plays to find space in its halfcourt offense and he muscled his way under the basket when a teammate took a shot. He had 13 points in the decisive fourth quarter, scoring eight straight during a five-minute stretch.

He had two big hoops during Danvers’ six-point run that trimmed a Belmont seven-point lead to one, 50-49, with 6:22 to go.

“It was tough, but we felt the adrenaline going at the end of the game and we really wanted it,” said Harris, a transfer from Hingham. “We absolutely believe in one another; we believe we’re gonna get the job done and that’s what we did tonight.”

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