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Sports

March 11, 2013

Matt Jenkins column: Cawlina, Beck make big plays as Danvers captures Div. 3 North title

On Basketball

Matt Jenkins

LOWELL — They’ve heard all the noise, even when it’s been just a whisper.

There’s been a common misconception the last couple years regarding the Danvers High boys basketball team. As strong as the Falcons have become under John Walsh, people have believed their Achilles’ heel has been depth.

Jake Cawlina and Kieran Beck took it upon themselves — in the Division 3 North final at the Tsongas Center Saturday afternoon, no less — to cast that foolish notion down, once and for all.

Pressed into action out of need, Cawlina hit three three-pointers, including a crucial triple with 56 seconds left, and Beck provided a little bit of everything, most notably a steal with 42 seconds left to help Danvers seal its 57-52 win over Wayland.

Walsh typically plays his starting five big minutes because, bottom line, they produce. Seniors Eric Martin, Nick McKenna, Nick Bates and Danny Connors are the main reason why this senior class has been the most successful in program history.

Sophomore guard Vinny Clifford, the other starter, has shot the ball so well this season that it’s been hard for Walsh to take him off the court.

Against Wayland, however, Connors was in foul trouble from the outset (eventually fouling out in the fourth quarter) and Clifford was struggling with his shot.

Cawlina and Beck were ready and willing to fill out the Danvers lineup.

“We all want to play,” Cawlina, a senior, said. “We all want to be on the court as much as we can so we try to make the most of it and play mistake-free basketball when we’re out there.”

It would have been hard for a player to make more of his opportunity than Cawlina did Saturday.

Despite Danvers’ ability to stretch the floor with the three-point shot, Wayland primarily stuck with its customary 2-3 zone. The Falcons’ usual three-point threats struggled from downtown, hitting only 3 of 10 in the first quarter.

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