Danvers Hoop Juggernaut Now Faces Whittier

The surging Danvers High Falcons, after looking unbeatable in its first two tournament wins, takes on its third straight opponent from the apparently woefully weak Commonwealth Athletic Conference Tuesday night at 7 at Triton Regional in Byfield. That’s a straight shot up Route 1, taking a left at The Governor’s Academy and taking a right onto school propertyabout a mile up on the right.

Danvers, 20-2 thanks to blowout successes against Greater Lawrence, 79-41, and Minuteman Regional, 82-41, takes on CAC champion Whittier Regional, 21-3. The winner moves on to the Division 3 North title game Saturday at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, time to be determined, most likely against Cape Ann League standard bearer North Reading, 21-0, assuming the Hornets take care of business in their semifinal game Wednesday night at Burlington High against the winner of tonight’s Arlington Catholic-Wayland victor.

Wayland wants a rematch with Danvers after losing to the Falcons a year ago in the tournament after blowing a 10-point lead in the last minute-plus. But all signs point to a long-awaited showdown between Danvers, the defending D-3 state champion, and North Reading.

The big question for Danvers is whether they can keep up the annihilation mode against Whittier. Loking at scores can give small hints of what’s to come, so let’s review. Whittier has advanced with wins over Cape Ann League reps Amesbury, 59-21 (how’s that for solid defense??) and Newburyport, 55-37. Impressive, I guess.

During the regular season, Haverhill-based Whittier defeated Greater Lawrence by  20 and 16 points, Minuteman by 27 in their one meeting. Four other results of which to take note: Whittier lost a non-league game by 12 points at Melrose, now 22-0 and the favorite to win Division 2 North. That makes Whittier sound more formidable. The Wildcats defeated  another Middlesex League foe, Winchester, by nine, but lost to a very weak Chelsea team on the road, by one. Their other loss came at Greater New Bedford by six. Greater New Bedford finished 16-6.

Conclusion: Whittier will be anything but another 40-point victim of the Falcons. Maybe a 20-point victim. As long as the Falcons remain healthy, especially point guard extraordinaire Eric Martim, seemingly recovered sufficiently from his hip flexor/strained groin from two weeks ago, the Falcons look like a runaway train that won’t be derailed, not even by North Reading.

A victory tomorrow night will make the Falcons 21-2, the second straight year  they have achieved a school-record 21 wins. They went 21-4 a year ago en route to capturing the state title.

Sophomore Vinny Clifford’s seven threes is a school tourney record and fell one shy of the eight he made during the regular season in a rout at St. Mary’s of Lynn.

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