Dan Connors, who led Danvers with 23 points, cut it to a two-possession game early in the fourth quarter with an old-fashioned three-point play, but Brighton then went on a 12-2 run to put it out of reach.
Brighton coach Hugh Coleman felt the increased pressure his team put on Martin getting the ball up the court helped change his team’s attitude, and James’ ability to break down the defense was critical.
“It took them out of their offense a little big and caused a couple turnovers and we got some layups and built up our confidence. I felt that was a real key for us,” Coleman said. “We rely on (James’) ability to break the defense down enough that we can get open shots. Therefore, when he’s focused and in gear, it means everything to our program and to our team.”
Simpson led the Bengals with 23 points while Mark Mojica and Jason Jones each had 10 points. Nate Hogan hit three threes and applied the defensive pressure on Martin, who was held to six points.
Nick Bates scored 21 points for Danvers and Nick McKenna chipped in with 16.
The Falcons clearly felt the sting of their first loss, but Walsh knows how beneficial playing an opponent like Brighton can be before the state tournament.
“Anytime you play a team like that I guess it can’t hurt,” Walsh said. “They’re so good and it’s going to prepare you. It’s something else you know that you’ve seen. When you look at their record, it’s deceiving; Malik James missed a bunch of games, but when that kid is there, they’re as good as anyone in the whole state.”