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.
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