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January 29, 2013

In The Paint: Beverly's Cross a valuable reserve

(Continued)

The Falcons’ dominance makes Beverly’s preparation a little easier.

“There’s no pressure on us. We can go out and play the best we can and see where we stand,” Lewis said. “If we win, then that’s great. It would be a great victory over one of the best programs in the state.”

Beverly is approaching the game like it would any other, but even a defeat could be beneficial to the Panthers.

Playing teams like Danvers only strengthens the Panthers’ postseason outlook.

“Everybody has slip-ups through the course of the season, especially on the road when you might not play well, but they seem to be head and shoulders above everybody else. Everybody knew they would be good, but I don’t think anyone anticipated this,” said Lewis, who recently won his 100th game. “I think it’s excellent for the conference; it just elevates the conference, as far as recognition, around the state. We know we’re not going to face many teams better than Danvers (in the postseason), so it’s a really good test to see where we stand.”

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Danvers coach John Walsh takes every opponent seriously and prepares his team like it’s the biggest game on the schedule, but it’s clear that he has some serious respect for this year’s Panthers.

“I think we’ve got our hands full. They’re as good a team as we’ve seen this year,” Walsh said. “They’re very similar to us. We both match up well with each other. They’re really well coached and I think it’s going to be tough. I’m hoping for a good atmosphere and a tourney-type crowd. It’s definitely going to be a battle.”

Walsh is expecting McKenna to return to the lineup on February 8 when his team goes to Saugus. In McKenna’s absence, Kieran Beck has played well.

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