Photo: Mac Annus at the line vs Reading.
Belmont Boys’ Hoops began its campaign to repeat as sectional champions with an emphatic victory over Middlesex Liberty rival Reading Memorial High, 87-45, in the first round match up of the Division 2 North playoffs.
“We had a great week of practice and we played a good game on offense and defense,” said Belmont’s Head Coach Adam Pritchard.
With its victory, third seed Belmont will host 6th ranked Billerica Memorial High School on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. after the team from Billerica defeated Somerville, 66-47.
The Marauders spread the rock around with three starters topping the 20 point mark with junior forward Preston Jackson-Stephens leading the way with 25 points followed by senior Mac Annus and junior Tim Minicozzi each with 21 points.
Belmont raced off to a 11-2 lead midway through the first quarter from the outside coming from threes from Minicozzi, Annus and sophomore center Kevin Logan who started the game.
Reading didn’t panic and through senior captain Taylor Marchant crept back to within five, 18-13. at the end of the quarter.
But Belmont broke out in the second quarter as Jackson-Stephens got of the snide with nine points as the junior was targeted when the Rockets began moving from under the basket to defend against Belmont outside scoring. Belmont’s solid defense and “push, push, push” transition gave the Marauders the open looks that gave them a 35-18 half time lead with Annus leading the way with 14 points including three 3s.
Reading started the second half going with a quicker but smaller lineup to spark the offense but that only allowed Belmont to dominate under the boards and allowed them to run the Rockets off the court, scoring 33 points and putting the game to bed finishing the third up 68-35.