, Salem, MA


December 27, 2012

In the Paint: Preparation the key for Danvers

In the Paint

Matt Jenkins

There will be nights this basketball season when things don’t fall into place for the Danvers High boys team. That’s the nature of basketball.

The Falcons will never suffer through nights when they are not prepared to win, however. Head coach John Walsh couldn’t live with that.

There’s nothing that an opposing coach can throw at Walsh that he hasn’t already thought about — and prepared for — himself.

“We just try to think how people might defend us and try to prepare for everything,” Walsh said. “There will be games we don’t hit shots. That’s just basketball. As long as we’re getting the shots we want, that’s all you can ask for.”

Danvers may lack a huge (6-foot-8 George Merry) presence in the middle that it can consistently rely on this season, but that doesn’t mean teams can load up defensively on the Falcons’ star perimeter players.

Danvers’ game against Saugus Friday night is Exhibit A. As soon as Nick McKenna and Nick Bates started heating up, Sachems’ coach Paul Moran elected to go to box-and-one and triangle-and-two defenses. Instead of slowing down Danvers’ attack, the defensive switch actually helped the Falcons heat up.

Walsh and his staff anticipated those moves from Saugus, and the Sachems’ desired result of confusion fell flat, leaving them frustrated and defeated.

It’s a song sung by most Danvers’ opponents in Walsh’s two-plus years at the helm.

“It’s crazy. We have so many plays. We have plays against box-and-one, triangle-and-two, 2-3 zone, 1-3-1 zone, man-to-man ... so many sets,” said McKenna, who helped Danvers improve to 3-0 with 19 points in the win over Saugus. “We run through our plays every day for about a half hour just to make sure everything is crisp and everything is jelling. That’s a big part of what we do.”

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