BEVERLY — Days before taking the court against Beverly, Danvers boys basketball coach John Walsh predicted his team was in for a battle.
Even though the Falcons came to Henry Cabot Lodge Fieldhouse with an unblemished record and an average win margin of 26 points per game, Walsh felt the Panthers were a tough matchup.
They were, but Danvers survived with a 49-47 victory in a game it led for less than four minutes.
“There was nothing that we were surprised about, but we knew they’d do everything well and right. Scott (Lewis) does a great job,” Walsh said after his team moved to 13-0. “I was happy with the way we overcame some adversity. Late in the game, certain things can rattle a team. Calls don’t go your way, or something like that, but we pulled through.”
The game finished with a little bit of controversy due to an inadvertent whistle. With just over 30 seconds remaining and Danvers hanging on to a 48-47 lead, Nick Bates knocked the ball away from Beverly’s Cam Rogers. Both players chased after and attempted to dive on the loose ball.
Believing Bates had possession, Walsh signaled for a timeout, which drew a whistle. Neither player had gained control of the ball yet, however. Danvers was granted a timeout, but Beverly (10-4) was given the ball because of alternating possession.
Danvers ended up getting a defensive stop, and sophomore Vinny Clifford made one free throw with 8.9 seconds to go to account for the final score.
“It was a crazy end to what was a great high school basketball game,” Lewis said.
Clifford played a huge role in Danvers overtaking the Panthers.
After missing on all four of his three-point attempts in the first half, Clifford hit three triples after the break and scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half.