Despite 22 minutes characterized by numerous errant passes, missed shots and general sloppy defense, Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball team clawed its way to back into its game with undefeated Arlington in its Middlesex League matchup on Tuesday, Jan 6, at Belmont’s Wenner Field House.
Adam Kleckner‘s driving shot with little over two minutes remaining in the third quarter squared up the contest at 45 with the hope the Marauders could somehow sneak a victory from the visiting SpyPonders.
But a fast-break basket and a pair of foul shots upped Arlington’s lead to four (49-45) at the end of the third quarter. And those late points proved to be a springboard for the SpyPonders as they ran off 21 points to win running away by 15, 70-55.
For Belmont (5-2), the loss to neighboring Arlington (7-0) was a step back for a team that is struggling since two important pieces to a team that ran off four victories – starting shooting guard Matt Kerans and sixth man Cole Barets – are shelved for some undetermined period.
“Arlington’s a great team and you can’t beat that sort of team when you’re not playing good basketball,” Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard told the Belmontonian.
“We didn’t play physical, didn’t box out and made too many mistakes,” said Pritchard.
Belmont started out smartly as the Marauders took a 7-2 lead after three and a half minutes via a great assist from starting senior point guard Ben Lazenby (11 points) to Kleckner (15 points), along with a three point basket and a jumper from an offensive rebound by senior Seth Altman.
Despite Kleckner picked up his second foul at four-and-a-half minutes, a pair of free throws from Altman (who scored a career-high 15 points) and two hoops from Kleckner’s replacement, junior forward Luke Peterson (6 points), had Belmont holding a 13-10 lead with two minutes to play in the first.
But Belmont next two times with the ball were stolen by Arlington who was led by senior guard Josh Lee (a game high 23 points) ran off 7 points in the final minute to lead 19-15 at the end of the quarter.
While a Lazenby drive to the basket brought Belmont within two (23-21), Lee (a pair of threes and a driving jumper) and his teammate, the outstanding soccer phenom Miles Robinson (6 of his 15 points) upped the SpyPonder’s lead to 8 (37-29) at the half.
Belmont got back into the game via Altman who hit a pair of threes and a nice floater to tie the game at 43 before it tied the game again at 45.
But the sloppiness of their play and the quickness of the SpyPonders doomed the Marauders to its second loss in the past three games.