Bates, Beck, Connors and Clifford are all tall kids with wide wingspans and that length made it all the much tougher on the Salem shooters.
“I think our length on the wings bothered them a little bit,” admitted Walsh.
Salem meanwhile had no answer for Bates especially in the second half.
After some early struggles at the free throw line, Bates found his rhythm at the charity stripe in the first half. He took over in the second half with 13 of his 20 points. Between Bates and the inside presence of Dan Connors (11 points) and his eight offensive boards, the Falcon lead never dipped below 11 points.
“He (Bates) is amazing. He’s a beast. I’m always all over him (about rebounding) but I have to give him credit he rebounds above the rim. Then he started showing you how he can score at the end of the game,” Walsh explained before switching gears to talk about Connors. “He was great down low for us and when things got a little bit stale we started to going to him and it worked.”
Dunston picked up his fourth foul before halftime but that didn’t stop Doyle from keeping him on the floor in the second half. Dunston (18 points) did what he could hitting three contested jumpers from long range however Danvers was able to keep Baez scoreless over the final two quarters while Bates and Connors went to work.
“It’s a tough match-up. They (Danvers) are a very good basketball team and they certainly played well tonight. They create match up problems for us and we tried to off set them and go with different looks,” said Doyle. “But you shut down one and they’ve got another weapon and they did a great job of maximizing that tonight.”
David Kazadi and Davonte Holloway did give Salem a lift off the bench with high energy, rebounding and a few blocked shots. It gave the Witches a nice inside presence however Kazadi fouled out early in the third quarter and Danvers was able to limit Holloway’s slashing abilities.