Danvers Boys Begin Title Defenses With Impressive 69-40 Win At Revere

Does this sound familiar?

The Defending Division 2 state champion and four-time defending Northeastern Conference champion Danvers High Falcons led, 14-0, after three minutes and had already forced six Revere turnovers, five of them steals. That could have been a year ago.

But this in fact described the start of a new season for Coach John Walsh and his Falcons, who were opening their schedule Tuesday night in the Roland Merullo Fieldhouse at Revere High.

The Falcons were never threatened after their stunning start and rolled to a 69-40 victory, powered by a suffocating, multi-faceted defense, in the process showing that they will find plenty of ways to win over the next three months after losing three front court standouts to graduation last June — two-time all-scholastic Devan Harris, Peter Merry and Vinny Clifford.

As expected, boasting quickness galore but little height, the Falcons will rely on grinding man-to-man defense and a few variations, like a half court zone, to take care of opponents this season.

Exhibit A Tuesday night was this opening quarter rundown: Danvers had a 19-7 first quarter lead, during which Revere did not score until nearly four minutes had elapsed, and by the end had committed 10 turnovers, eight of them the result of DHS steals.

With a sizable number of “Falcon Fanatics” making the trek down Route 1 and Route C-1 to root their favorites on to success, Danvers led 36-20 at intermission, keyed by 11 steals leading to nine points and not bothered by shooting goose eggs (0-for-6) from three-point range).

The Falcons looked vulnerable only in the first 5:49 of the third quarter, when they scored only one point and missed their first 10 shots. But Revere hardly fared any better. Then, by the time the versatile Devonn Allen drove baseline for one three-point play, then plowed through the middle of the lane for another three-point play, the two covering a mere 23 seconds and giving the Falcons a 43-24 cushion, it was game time.

The fourth quarter was window dressing as the Falcons coasted and gave Walsh his 106th win against 19 losses starting his sixth season in charge.

With virtually no height, the Falcons know they’ll have to rely on their marvelous quickness and force the issue most nights with their defense. Walsh got terrific defense for much of this one thanks to his starters, Allen, Rashad Francois, Kieran Moriarty, Kenneth Crittendon and Mike Nestor, along with sixth man Justin Roberto.

“We take great pride in our defense,” Nestor said afterward. “We had some good moments and bad moments with our defense tonight. Not a bad start but we have to get a lot better with that and our offense.”

“We’ve got to play a lot better than this, no matter what the scoreboard says,” Walsh said. “I’ll grant you we played hard, but we also played stupid in a lot of places and didn’t play with the right body language. We also had a lot of trouble shooting the ball. That’s gotta pick up for the next game (at Lynn English Friday, 7 p.m,.). Most important, we’ve got to play smarter come Friday.”

Turnovers finished 26-12 in favor of the Falcons. A huge factor in the outcome. Allen led the scoring parade with 20, followed by Francois with 11, Crittendon with nine, Nestor, Moriarty and Sean Rooney (back-to-back threes late) with six each and Tahg Coakley with five.

We weren’t getting any smiles from the ever-serious Walsh as he left the field house with the team, but to the Danvers fans who attended and made plenty of noise behind the Falcon bench, there was lots to be happy about.

These guys are going to be just fine.

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