, Salem, MA


February 1, 2013

This former Falcon simply amazed by unbeaten DHS hoopsters


1970: Win second NEC title in John McGrath era led by Lon Cohen, Dana White and Jay Veilleux

1975: Win NEC title No. 3 under former Tufts standout McGrath, led by all-time DHS leading scorer Ed Gieras, current DHS girls’ coach Pat Veilleux, Mike Hennessey and Jim Busby

I keep pinching myself. Is this a dream? Two years straight like this?

Barring an act from God, the Falcons, after its next five games (3 on the road), should stand 18-0 and become the NEC’s first unbeaten champion since Scoonie Penn-led Salem High in 1995. That would take them into the Comcast Tournament Feb. 17-18 at Babson College, where Danvers will face the ultimate test in trying to finish with a perfect 20-0 regular season. The other three teams involved: top 20-ranked Boston College High, Newton North and Brighton. The first two teams are Division 1 powers; Brighton a Division 2 contender.

The amazing thing about this team is the hunger/intensity/commitment to winning it displays at both ends of the court, an obvious tribute to Walsh and his coaching staff. Fact is these kids got sick and tired of hearing over the summer how they would take a dip in the standings after losing the multi-talented, 6-foot-8 center George Merry. Wrong; they have shown a fierce determination that exceeds that which carried them to the state championship. It’s almost like they are playing with a chip on their shoulder.

The four key returnees from last year have been magnificent in their own ways, individually and as team players. Eric Martin, Dan Connors, Nick Bates and Nick McKenna have been marvelous as the nucleus. But the real difference in this team’s invincibility has been the two newcomers to the rotation, sophomore Vinny Clifford and junior Kieran Beck, while Jake Cawlina and Duncan D’Hemecourt have pitched in at times, too.

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