With McKenna, the team’s top scorer at 18 points per game, sidelined for the last five games (and two more to go before his scheduled return on Feb. 8, according to Walsh), Beck has stepped in the breach and done a terrific job at both ends, even contributed double figure scoring a few times. He scored a huge fourth quarter bucket at Beverly.
In essence, the Falcons have not missed a beat with McKenna on the mend. Clifford, meanwhile, has given the Falcons another offensive weapon that defenses have yet to figure out. Through the Beverly game Clifford has made 38 three-pointers in 13 games, most on the team, including a school record eight in a non-league triumph at St. Mary’s. He made three at Beverly, all in the second half, and canned the decisive contested 12-foot jumper in the final minute. Sophomores aren’t supposed to play this big, but Clifford has.
The Falcons score tons of points off their press, double-teams and in transition, but also have a devastating long-range game thanks to the marksmanship of Clifford, Bates and McKenna.
Gary Larrabee is a former Salem News sportswriter and a native of Danvers who played basketball for the Falcons in the 1960s.