MARBLEHEAD — Wayne Hanscom, the Marblehead boys basketball coach, felt the Danvers basketball team was a tough match up for his Magicians after the Falcons opened the season with a 57-31 road win in Marblehead.
When Danvers plays defense like it did last night, the Falcons are a tough match up for anybody.
With four of the top six players returning from last year’s Division 3 state championship team, the Falcons held Marblehead scoreless for a span of nearly eight minutes in the first half to build a 27-12 lead headed into the locker room for halftime.
“We only have one senior. Everyone else is sophomores and juniors, so it’s going to be a challenging year,” said Hanscom. “Our effort was good, they’ve (Danvers) just got a lot of seniors on that team. It’s a tough match up for us. Overall our effort was good. We just got beat by a better team.”
Senior captains Dan Connors, Eric Martin, Nick McKenna and Nick Bates all were valuable pieces in the run to the state championship and now the foursome gives the Falcons valuable experience.
Teams generally struggle to find offensive consistency early in the season and last night was no different for either club. Both teams turned the ball over and missed some easy shots, but Danvers kept the heat on Marblehead with constant ball pressure. After an 11-10 Danvers first quarter, the Magicians didn’t score until the final two minutes of the half.
“We try to pressure the ball and we try to defend pretty hard and things kind of went our way,” said Danvers head coach John Walsh. “That’s the best we’ve defended in a long time.”
McKenna (20 points) showed he’s ready to step into the role of the Falcons go-to scorer. McKenna hit a pair of three-pointers and then got to the paint for a couple of pull-up jumpers for a 14-point, first-half performance.