By Greg Phipps
Despite putting forth a strong effort, the Peabody boys’ basketball team fell short in its first two games. On Monday at the PHS Gym, the Tanners took a two-point lead into the final quarter against Danvers but were outscored by 12 in the final quarter and suffered a 64-54 defeat to the Northeastern Conference (NEC) rival Falcons.
The Tanners trailed up until the midportion of the third quarter when Kyle Morfis drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to give the home team a 37-35 edge. Still in front 41-39 entering the fourth, Peabody saw its advantage dissipate rather quickly as Danvers scored the first seven points of the final quarter to grab a 46-41 lead it would not relinquish. The ultimate nail in the coffin came when Falcons guard Armani Vlaun sank a layup and subsequent free throw off a turnover to make it a 58-49 contest in the waning minutes.
The Tanners did give the visitors trouble at times when they implemented their pressure defense and forced turnovers that led to some easy baskets and scoring opportunities. But Danvers was able to weather that storm and come away with the win. Peabody also missed 14 free throws, but head coach Thad Broughton praised his team’s effort and credited Danvers with being able to make plays down the stretch.
“We definitely struggled offensively tonight. Danvers did a nice job of converting big baskets. They just converted more than we did,” said Broughton after the game. “I love our team. We played hard from beginning to end again tonight. We just ran out of gas a little bit in the fourth quarter and came up short.”
Danvers went into the half ahead 28-21 before a 16-7 Peabody surge to open the third quarter put the home team in front for a brief time. Mike Tansey poured in 12 points to lead the Tanners. He was the lone Peabody player in double figures. Chris Canela added nine points, Joe O’Neill had seven and Will Preshong dropped in six for the Tanners, who fell to 0-2 with the defeat.
Tansey scored 21 in Peabody’s season-opening 73-68 loss at Revere last Friday. The Tanners played at Malden on Thursday.
In Friday’s junior varsity tilt, Steve Bua and Gabe Calaro each finished with 12 points in a 66-61 Peabody victory.