Clifford’s third three came with 5:17 left and gave Danvers its first lead, 42-40.
He also hit a contested pull-up jumper with 49 seconds left, giving the Falcons a 48-47 lead.
“We lost him in transition twice and he made those two big threes,” Lewis said. “I thought we did a pretty good job on him in the halfcourt sets, but when we missed and they came down, two different times we didn’t find him and those were big hoops for them.”
Danvers, still playing without senior Nick McKenna who is out with mononucleosis, needed someone to fill a scoring role. Bates struggled with his shot, and Beverly did an excellent job collapsing on Dan Connors (10 points) when he caught the ball in the post.
“Those were big shots,” Walsh said. “He’s a sophomore coming up big, stepping into that void where Nick McKenna would get those shots. I was very proud of him.”
Beverly had a great game plan and executed it to near perfection. The Panthers didn’t allow Danvers to get many clean looks at the basket, they hit the offensive glass extremely hard, and they got excellent production from junior point guard Jonangel Franco, who led Beverly with 14 points.
Despite all of that, Lewis and the Panthers had a hard time tasting defeat last night.
“I guess maybe in a couple days when this settles in we can say, ‘Hey, this was great. We played with Danvers, one of the best teams in the state who has beaten everybody by 20 points. We can play with anybody, too,’” Lewis said. “But, on the other hand, we lost the game. That would have been a huge win for us.”