Those of us who’ve been involved, in one way or another, with Danvers High basketball for the past 50-plus years are giddy beyond words these days.
Can you blame us?
After watching last season’s Falcons post the best record in the Northeastern Conference (14-3) and capturing a share of their first Northeastern Conference title (Small division) since 1975, then win their first North sectional title, march all the way to victory in the Eastern Mass. title game in the Garden and the Division 3 state championship in Worcester ... well, what possibly could they do for an encore this season?
Let us count the ways.
Following their gallant 49-47 win at Beverly Tuesday night, the Falcons stand a staggering and unprecedented (by school standards) 13-0. They are the only undefeated team in the NEC and a lock to win their first outright conference title since 1975. Moreover, the Falcons have now gone 45-6 in their last 51 games and have won 18 games in a row dating back to last season, a school record of epic proportion considering the program’s history since Gerald Ford was president.
They had won every game by a minimum of 18 points before Tuesday’s nailbiter in the palatial Henry Cabot Lodge Fieldhouse, and are outscoring their opponents by a preposterous average margin of 70-47 over these first 13 games.
A brief look back at DHS title/near-title history (pre-John Walsh years) since 1960:
1961 and 1962: Lose successive NEC championship playoff games to Winthrop, 56-52, and Woburn, 69-67
1964: Win first NEC title under new coach John McGrath with a nucleus of Jeff Ryback, Steve lenz, John Keane, Bob Bonner, Bob Cunningham and Pat O’Shea
1966: Lose NEC title game at Winthrop on final night, 50-48, without the services of injured captain and No. 1 scorer Jon Tiplady
1967: Lose title game showdown at Swampscott, 55-54, in final week of NEC season