By Gianna Addario
---- — SALEM— It was the type of win that Danvers head coach Pat Veilleux was hoping for after tough loss to Lynn English a few nights ago. It took a while for the shots to fall, but once the Falcons found their rhythm last night, they never relinquished the lead against host Salem.
Both teams started off slow, but Danvers settled down nicely midway through the first quarter en route to a 47-39 victory over the Witches.
“We were rather desperate after the English game the other night,” said Veilleux. “Chronically we’ve been slow starters and offensively challenged, but our girls kept their poise. Actually, I think we played probably our best game all year.
“I don’t want to single out players, but I told them tonight that it was going to have to be a complete team effort— and it was. Salem is a good team and I thought we did a pretty good job defending them.”
Danvers took a 22-15 advantage into halftime after leading by as many 10 in the second quarter.
Freshman Devan Walsh sparked the scoring charge for the Falcons as she scored seven of her 15 points in the first half. Walsh, who comes of the bench, set the tone early and drove hard to the basket to earn her points.
“I think what I like most is that we kept our poise,” added Veilleux. “Three or four games ago, I don’t think we would’ve attacked the way we did. Even though it’s our ninth game, we’re still trying to get the chemistry right and the balance.
“Devan and our other freshman Hannah Llewellyn are here for a reason. It’s a matter of just getting acclimated. I think these girls have a little bit of confidence now and that’s really important. This is a good win for us and it gives a little momentum going forward.”
Salem cut the deficit to three points midway through the third quarter, but the Falcons came right back closing the quarter out on 6-0 run to go back up by nine.
“We need to string together long stretches and attack a quarter and then look to put back-to-back quarters together,” said Salem coach John Fortunato. “We had stretches where we made a little dent and then we had two bad turnovers and Danvers goes right down the court for those easy baskets.
“It’s tough, but it’s back to the drawing board. We’re in a bad place right now coming off of three losses, but we have a hard working group of girls and looking to keep improving.”
Junior Emily McNulty added 12 points and four rebounds for Danvers, while senior captain Kasey Sherry (six rebounds) was limited to just nine points.
“Kasey’s such a great player, so I was thrilled with the way we played because whatever she hit, she earned it,” added Fortunato. “It’s very hard to shut a player like Kasey down. You know in any game if you fall asleep for one minute, Kasey will be there and sticks that three in your eye.”
Rachael Zipper and Arianna Gaffney scored a team-high nine points for Salem, while Jaclyn Panneton contributed with seven points.