LOWELL — For the large majority of Saturday’s Division 2 North boys basketball final against New Mission, Danvers controlled the pace of play.
But in the third quarter, the Titans began trapping the Falcons just over half court. Danvers took the bait, going for the quick shot instead of extending its possessions.
The Falcons couldn’t run-and-gun with New Mission, and the Titans used a big third quarter to bump off Danvers 61-50 and snap the Falcons’ 14-game post season winning streak.
“When they started trapping we got shots but we didn’t convert,” said Danvers head coach John Walsh, whose team finished 19-4 and had won back-to-back Division 3 state titles before moving up to D2 this winter. “We’re young and sometimes we’re used to winning which is good but sometimes things can get away from you quickly. Sometimes kids think they can score six points on one play rather than just relax - and going too quick and not calling a play out and not doing what we’re supposed to do.”
After opening the game in man-to-man defense, Danvers switched to an extended zone and forced New Mission into long offensive possessions deep into the shot clock. Even more importantly, the Titans weren’t getting quality looks and were forcing shots from the outside.
Danvers, meanwhile, didn’t settle for jumpers and went inside possession after possession. Those adjustments helped the Falcons lead 29-27 in the third quarter with all but one field goal coming from inside the paint.
New Mission (21-2) adjusted in the third and its trap game stymied the Falcon offense. The Titans went on an 18-3 run all the way into the fourth quarter. Time and again, New Mission either forced a turnover or a quick Danvers shot and when the Falcons couldn’t convert from the field the Titans would get the ball quickly up the court for easy buckets in transition.