DANVERS — After back-to-back losses last week, Danvers girls basketball head coach Pat Veilleux stressed to his team the importance of playing four complete quarters.
The message resonated with the Falcons as they downed visiting Salem, 43-28 in last night’s Northeastern Conference showdown.
“We had two games against Classical and Beverly that were winnable, but we just couldn’t make those plays like we had in the first five wins,” said Veilleux. “All we kept harping on was four quarters, even if we broke it down into four minutes of each quarter. I thought we did a tremendous job of doing that in this game.
“The point is we finally played, somewhat of we’re capable of playing and against a good Salem team. We took it to them right away and were able to sustain the effort.”
Senior Ashley Arnoldy (seven rebounds) netted six of her team-high 14 points in the first quarter for Falcons, who move to 6-3 on the season. While the Witches hung around early on, Danvers limited them offensively, allowing just a single free-throw in the second quarter.
Danvers outscored Salem, 16-1 in the second and took a 27-7 lead into halftime.
“We were very sloppy with turnovers in the first half,” said Salem head coach John Fortunato, whose team evens out at 3-3. “That was more the disappointing part. I don’t think the girls were spotting up confidently when they were shooting. We didn’t execute and passed the ball poorly. There were times when we didn’t maintain a good court spacing.”
Salem’s best quarter came in the third, when Brianna Rodriguez hit two three-pointers. Danvers’ zone defense stifled a lot of the Witches’ scoring chances, including holding leading scorer Jaclyn Panneton to five points.
Falcon senior Allison Walsh went down grabbing her knee during the first half. Walsh, who made her return to court this season after her second ACL tear, stayed out for the remainder of the game.