, Salem, MA


January 1, 2013

In the Paint: New Year's Wishes for 2013

In the Paint

Matt Jenkins

Many people think of the New Year as a type of rebirth, a chance to wipe the slate clean. Of course, in the world of high school basketball, where most local teams have already played around a quarter of their games, wiping the slate clean can only be done in a figurative manner.

Teams that are off to a slow start can only make a resolution to get better in 2013, while other teams may just hope for continued success.

Either way, here are some New Year’s wishes for some of our local teams:

1. St. John’s Prep and Danvers schedule a regular season matchup for the 2013-14 season. This has to happen; it makes too much sense not to. These two programs are still on the rise, even though each has recently won a state title in their respective divisions. Danvers coach John Walsh, now in his third year on the Falcons’ bench, led this program to its first state title in Division 3 last year. On the other hand, Sean Connolly brought the Eagles a Division 1 state title two seasons ago in his third year.

Both coaches are young, intelligent, and tough. They’re both old-school in their approach, attacking each practice and game in a very business-like manner. As harsh as it may seem, they’re not interested in making friends. They share the same goal, and that goal is to make their team better every day.

Danvers is led by a quartet of seniors this season. But even when Nick McKenna, Nick Bates, Eric Martin, and Danny Connors move on after this season, Walsh will keep the Falcons playing at a high level as long as he’s roaming the sideline.

Connolly, meanwhile, may be in the midst of his best coaching job yet. For the first time during his St. John’s Prep tenure Connolly does not have Pat Connaughton or Steve Haladyna on his roster. Connaughton and Haladyna, a pair of 1,000-point scorers are now busy playing for Notre Dame and Tufts, respectively, but the Eagles have not missed a beat.

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