Danvers (19-4) held Saugus (14-10) to 15 points in the second half and only three points in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons did not allow a point in the final 5:17 of the game, securing a trip to TD Garden to face South champions Wareham on Monday in the Eastern Mass Division 3 title after the Vikings beat Martha's Vineyard 70-65.
With 3:10 left in the second quarter, junior Nick McKenna drained a 3-pointer to give Danvers a 23-21 advantage. The Falcons would not trail again in the game.
“That three was enormous,” said Danvers head coach John Walsh.
Along with McKenna's three, the Falcons were fueled in the second quarter by 6-foot-7-inch center George Merry who scored 11 points in the quarter including going 7 of 8 at the free throw line. Merry finished with a game-high 22 points and added 11 rebounds for a double-double.
“Anytime the ball goes into [Merry] it can always come out and when they are collapsing on him we can swing it around a little bit and get some open looks,” Walsh said. “I think that is a big part of everything for us.”
Danvers led at half 30-25 and pulled away after the break going on a 9-0 run early in the third quarter taking the 39-29 edge with 4:15 left in the third. The defense, helped in part by some huge boards by junior guard Nick Bates (12 rebounds), held the lead for the Falcons.
“[Bates] really played well defensively and especially getting rebounds. He seemed like an animal on the boards,” Merry said.
Walsh talked about how the defense improved in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter.
“We just tried to defend and tried to keep the ball away from some of their big scoring options and we did a better job of that in the fourth quarter and only held them to three points,” he said.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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