Francois (30) Powers Danvers Boys Cagers To Resounding 91-65 Rout of Lynn English; Nearing Fifth Straight NEC Title After 29th Consecutive Home Victory

With his mom, Wilda, in the stands for the first time this season and sole possession of first place in the Northeastern Conference Large Division at stake, Rashad “Rudy” Francois staged a career performance Tuesday night, scoring 30 points, 20 in a  31-11 first quarter, as the Danvers High boys routed Lynn English, 91-65, to move two games ahead with three NEC games remaining.

“We knew how much was at stake tonight,” Francois said after the 12-3 Falcons posted their seventh straight victory and 29th straight home win overall, “especially after we lost by two at their place way back at the start of the season. It meant even more to me because my mom, who’s usually working when I play, was able to come to the game. I’m sure glad she got to this one.”

In a fitting way to celebrate Senior Night, the Falcons’ last home game (9-0 at home) before the state tournament, the Falcons hammered the visiting Bulldogs, playing without their star guard-forward, 6-2 Anthony Silfa. It was 19-3 after five minutes, the Bulldogs getting shots off (2) on only one possession as the Falcons’ nasty man defense smothered English (9-4 in the NEC) from the get-go and never gave them a chance.

Danvers made a stunning eight three-pointers in the opening quarter, four by Francois, three by Tre Crittendon and one by Mike Nestor. The masterful way the Falcons played at both ends of the court, this observer doubts that Silfa’s presence would have made a difference anyhow.

Stretching the lead to 26 at halftime by scoring a team record 54 points, Danvers coasted the second half as the Falcons’ “Big Three” enjoyed a wonderful night; Francois with his career-high 30, Devonn Allen with a slump-breaking 25 and Crittendon with a routine 17 on five threes. Francois finished with six threes, Allen with three and Nestor with two.

Danvers may be the only member of the Boston Globe Top 20 (No. 19) whose offense emphasizes the three-point field goal, but they get results, as their 16 “treys” against English attest.

As the Golden Age of Danvers High boys basketball continues for a sixth year under coach John Walsh, Danvers moves to 11-2 in NEC Large, with English now 9-4. With three NEC games left, the Falcons can clinch a division title tie with a win Friday night at Peabody, after which comes road games at Lynn Classical Monday and Beverly Thursday. The two-day Holliston tourney follows on February 14 and 15 and the regular season ends on the 21st at Masconomet.

“The kids really picked it up tonight,” said Walsh. “They played hard from one end to the other, shot real well and didn’t let up. I hope down the road I can say that we took our game to a new level with this one and kept it up the rest of the way, but we’ve got a lot of games left. I was just so happy for all the kids who had big games, from Rashad to Devonn to Tre and Mike (Nestor).

It was the Falcons’ first 90-point effort of the season, their first since a 94-49 win at Revere a year ago.

After losing their three big men (6-9, 6-4, 6-3) to graduation and the college ranks, the team with no big man this year is enjoying a spectacular year, having lost three games by a total of nine points, a one-pointer to Malden Catholic, a two-pointer to English and as six-pointer at Salem.

It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of group he has to coach, Walsh gets tremendous results, this time for a fifth straight year.

Walsh is now 117 and 22 in five-plus seasons at the helm. Time to start collecting money for a statue?????



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