Photo: Belmont’s Meghan Tan scoring and being fouled in the game vs. Woburn.
Woburn High senior forward Kelsey Qualey hit an uncontested three-point shot with eight seconds remaining to negate a final minute 10-0 run by Belmont High to beat the Marauders, 58-55, in a barnburner on Friday, Feb. 2 in Woburn.
Qualey’s trey, her only three of the game, came after Belmont rallied from a 55-45 deficit with 1:29 remaining in the fourth, as the Marauders’ senior co-captains Greta Propp and Jenny Call hit consecutive three-point baskets to knot the game at 55 with 36 seconds left in the half.
But when Woburn came down the court, Belmont’s defense “lost” Qualey as she drifted to the left of the basket and had a wide-open shot at the hoop that she calmly sank. A final second attempt by senior co-captain Carly Christofori – an underhanded left-hand prayer that hit nothing but net – was negated by a traveling violation.
“That was a huge shot because we wanted to get into overtime,” said Belmont’s Head Coach Melissa Hart after the game.
“[Woburn]’s defense was fantastic and we didn’t move the ball like we should have. And they had a couple of players that had big games, they just hit more shots,” said Hart.
Belmont now sits at 11-2 with Woburn vaulting to 11-1, and into the lead for the top seed in the coming Divison 1 North sectional post season.
It’s appropriate the game was played in Woburn on Groundhog Day because as in the movie, Belmont relived the same heartbreaking outcome playing in “Wu-town” during the regular season or in the sectional playoffs.
“What are we now in Woburn? Like 0-8,” lamented Hart.
Friday’s game was filled with points streaks. Belmont opened the game on a 9-0 run – Christofori would score all 7 of her first-quarter points in the first 1:15 of the game to go along with a turnaround scoop shot from junior center Jess Giorgio – only to see Woburn storm back with its own 12-0 streak to eventually lead 15-13 at the end of the first eight minutes.
The second quarter was a tight affair when Christofori hit her second three in the half to cut the Tanner lead to two, 24-22, with 1:47 left. That’s when Woburn’s defense and three-point shooting hit its peak, creating four consecutive turnovers as senior Andrea Schiavone (12 points on four threes) and sophomore Ashlyn Pacheco – who played a tight man defense on Christofori – hit from long distance, outscoring Belmont 11-2 in the final 90 seconds to leave the court at the half up 35-24.
“We didn’t stop them when we needed to. If we would have gotten it under five with a few minutes left then it’s not a big mountain to climb. But we were down around 10 the entire second half,” said Hart.
The third quarter saw Belmont only able to cut the lead to 7 points once (38-31) with Woburn playing a collapsing man-to-man defense, clogging the lane and using a phalanx of players to stifle Christofori’s playmaking as the Tanners kept its 11 point margin entering the final quarter.
The last eight minutes started smartly for Belmont as Giorgio – the Marauders’ player of the match working both boards and taking a leadership role on and off the court – and Jane Mahon hit baskets to cut the lead to six points (49-42) after a minute. But Pacheco would hit a basket falling to the court after being fouled to restore the lead to nine. While the Marauders were having trouble finding open shots, the Tanners were now finding themselves under pressure from Belmont’s press.
Belmont’s final run started with a Giorgio basket, followed by Christofori’s only two points in the half from a pair of free throws. On the subsequent Woburn inbounds, Giorgio forced a five-second violation that followed by Propps second three of the quarter, followed by a turnover which allowed Call – the Marauders’ career three-point leader – to make her second trey which silenced the Tanners’ cheering section as Belmont outscored Woburn 17-6 in the quarter.
But a lack of defensive discipline with Woburn driving to the basket ended Belmont’s thrilling comeback and instead it was a return to Groundhog Day.
Boys’ Basketball Rein on Woburn
Belmont High Boys’ Hoops has found a way to beat playoff-bound Woburn: drain threes onto the Tanners.
On Friday, Feb. 2, the Marauders threw down a torrential downpour that swept aside Woburn High in a flash flood of treys as Belmont handed the 11-win Tanners a comprehensive drubbing, 85-57, in a game held at the Wenner Fieldhouse that was over at halftime.
With nine wins, Belmont is a victory away from making the Division 2 North. Woburn has dropped consecutive games (losing to Watertown on Tuesday) and stands at 11-4 as it heads to undefeated Arlington.
Belmont’s league MVP candidate Danny Yardemian led all scorers with 26 points as the Marauders completed the double against the Tanners beating Woburn last month 69-67.
Woburn guard Ryan Ludwig’s 10 points kept his team close at the end of the first, 23-17, the burgage began in earnest as Belmont put up 27 points in the second eight minutes. By the half, the led was 19, 50-31, with 30 points coming from distance with sophomore guard Mac Annus accounting for four threes from downtown. In the third, Belmont defense played its part holding the Tanners under 10 points to extend the lead to nearly 30, 70-39, entering the fourth quarter.