DANVERS — Without Nick McKenna in the lineup, the Danvers boys basketball team knew its offense would look a little different against Salem visiting last night.
So the Falcons did everything they could to take the Witches out of their offensive game and pulled out an impressive 66-42 win that head coach John Walsh seemed especially pleased with.
“(The game plan was) to hold them (Salem) in the 40s,” said Walsh. “We knew if we could do that we could have a chance. We knew Nick McKenna wasn’t playing because he was sick so we were going to struggle offensively. The kids stepped up big time. Not many kids play a lot of minutes so we asked them to do a lot and they came through. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Normally the Witches play fast and shoot in bulk numbers. Last night, Salem (5-3) hit only one jump shot in the first half and it was a turn-around fade away from Christian Dunston that hit off glass before dropping through the net.
Eric Martin (14 points) had five first half steals for Danvers (8-0) and Nick Bates (12 rebounds), Dan Connors (15 rebounds) and Kieran Beck (nine rebounds) limited Salem’s second chance opportunities as the Falcons led 32-18 at the half. Sophomore Vinny Clifford scored all of his eight points before the break.
“They (Danvers) certainly dictated the tempo on both sides of the court and that was something obviously we were trying to do,” explained Salem coach Tom Doyle. “They threw a couple different defenses at us and that caused us to have some trouble. We were always at a distance but our kids never quit and played hard until the end. I’m proud of them.”
The Danvers defenders closed out on the Salem three-point shooters and, outside of some lay ups by Emilio Beato (nine points), limited the damage of Dunston and Marvin Baez’ dribble-drive game.