With the grind of league play upon them, the Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball team took to the court on Friday, Jan. 2 against hosts Reading Memorial High School with the objective to get a bit more physical out there.
After suffering its first defeat of the season to a good Billerica team on Monday, Dec. 29, the squad hoped to move bodies around the court to allow the Marauders’ scoring duo of senior center Adam Kletchner and senior point guard Ben Lazenby a bit more room to hit their shots and, consequently, making it harder for the Rockets – just off winning a holiday tournament – offensively.
It worked; as Belmont (4-1) handled the Rockets (2-4), 58-41, in which Lazenby shouldered the bulk of the scoring lost with junior scoring guard Matt Kerans (bandaged hand) and 6th man Cole Bartels sitting on the bench.
“I liked what I saw. They showed a more physical side” of their play, said Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard.
The key to the win was the duel role Lazenby took, not only leading the offense but also taking shots usually handled by his partner Kerans. Lazenby finished the game with 21 points which included hitting four three point shots but only going 3 for 10 from the charity stripe.
Pritchard noted that Lazenby was not only doing double duty on the offensive end, “he’s also guarding their best backcourt player. His work rate is very impressive.”
Following Lazenby on the scoring sheet was Kleckner (20 points) who was Mr. Steady, scoring four, six, six and four in each quarter while making it difficult for the Rockets down low.
“Kleckner is Kleckner; he’s getting the job done, especially now when he need him to step up,” said Pritchard.
While no other Belmont player hit more than a single basket, the team’s defense was a marked improvement from Monday’s loss, lead by seniors Jaemar Paul (3 points from the line) and Seth Altman (an important 3 pointer early in the game to put the Marauders’ in the lead) and junior big man Justin Wagner (2 points), each contributing to the defense on the night.