Things didn’t look promising for Danvers (19-2) when Keith Burns buried a 3-pointer with 52 seconds to play. That gave Belmont a 59-58 lead and Danvers couldn’t convert on its next possession.
But a steal by freshman Devon Allen on the defensive end gave the Falcons new life and Kieran Beck hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 23 seconds left. Harris and Allen each made one free throw in the clutch, Harris knocking one down with 12 seconds left and Allen converting with 1.4 seconds left.
Belmont’s last-ditch effort was thwarted when Beck stole the long in-bounds pass.
“I know it sounds strange but Allen was like the second MVP for us,” Walsh said of his freshman, who only finished with one point but made several solid defensive plays including two steals down the stretch.
“Kieran is so versatile. He was covering (Belmont center) Adam Kleckner to start the game and took a charge on him for his fourth foul (in the third quarter). Then he switched to cover their point guard.”
Kleckner, who scored 21 points in Belmont’s win over Salem in the quarters, was held to just six points before fouling out late in the third quarter.
“Once we fouled out their big guy, the glass was open,” Harris said. “You just have to want it more, that’s all. You have to want the boards more.”
Beck finished with 10 points, as did Danvers junior 6-foot-9 center Peter Merry. Merry also had eight blocks, six in the first half.
Burns led Belmont with 14, Ben Lazenby chipped in 12, and Matt Kerans had 11.
Danvers now gets a chance to play for the Div. 2 North crown after capturing the title in Div. 3 the last two years.
“It means the world to us,” Harris said. “I know these guys have been there before, but I haven’t. It’s going to be a new experience for me.”
Danvers 62, Belmont 59
Belmont: Burns 4-2-14, Lazenby 4-2-12, Wagner 3-0-6, Kleckner 3-0-6, Hinton 2-0-4, Kerans 4-2-11, Croce 3-0-6. Totals 23-6-59.
Danvers: Merry 5-0-10, Harris 14-7-35, Beck 2-5-10, Francois 1-4-6, Allen 0-1-1, McCarthy 0-0-0. Totals 22-17-62.
Halftime: D, 29-28.
3-pointers: B, Burns 4, Lazenby 2, Kerans; D, Beck.
Records: B, 18-7; D, 19-2