Sophomore Justin Roberto, a key factor off the bench with five treys in Friday’s 51-48 comeback victory at Marblehead, was in an even better groove Tuesday night in Danvers’ 73-42 rout of Swampscott in the DHS field house.
Roberto, after missing his first three-point shot, made his next six, finished 6-for-7, and sparked the Falcons to their fifth straight victory and their 10th in 13 outings overall.
With junior ace Devonn Allen sitting out his second straight game with a bruised shoulder, sixth man Tahg Coakley came up big in Allen’s spot, adding 15 points, while Tre Crittendon added 14 (3-4 in threes) and Rashad Francois had 12.
A team that had been shooting abysmally from the arc was vastly improved in this one, hitting 11-for 19, 8-for-10 in the first half, during which the Falcons made an astonishing seven straight threes. It was 46-19 at the half after it had been 9-8 with 1:26 left in the opening quarter.
The big story emerging from these last two wins has undoubtedly been the 5-11 Roberto, who has been labeled a future long range shooter deluxe for the varsity for some time.
Desperately needing him to deliver at Marblehead, Roberto delivered, making 5 of 11 threes. Then he topped that showing with a stunning 6-for-7 against Swampscott, thrusting him into the sixth man role until Allen returns, most likely next Tuesday at home against Lynn English. When Allen gets back in action, Roberto will be the second man off the bench and locked into the regular rotation.
“He’s got the touch going right now,” says Coach John Walsh. “It’s great to see. Justin’s had the potential to make an impact and he’s doing that right now. I’m very happy for him. He’s got to keep looking for his shot, though, whenever the opportunity presents itself.”
Roberto’s thrusting himself into the Falcons’s offensive equation is important, since the three-point shot is an integral part of their success.
He joins Francois, Crittendon and Allen as three-point threats every time they bring the ball down the floor.
With five Northeastern Conference games left in the regular season, the Falcons project to be anywhere from 15-3 to 13-5 after this stretch, followed by a two-game tourney at Holliston before beginning defense of their Division 2 state championship.
The two tough games left are versus English and at Lynn Classical February 8. The return match at Beverly could be a challenge on the 11th, but the Falcons should be able to triumph.
One other positive factor surfaced for the Falcons Tuesday night with the season debut of big man Isaiah Clark, the all-star lineman on the football team. He could prove to be a major plus in the middle in future weeks.
Fact is, with a team comprised of five scoring guards, small forward extraordinaire Mike Nestor and inside man Kieran Moriarty, this team has been a marvel. Small as they may be, they are capable of beating anybody because of their quickness, defensive proficiency and offensive versatility.
Walsh’s six-year record at Danvers is now 115-22, the best such cumulative record by a North Shore coach, boys or girls, in histiory.