Photo: Belmont’s junior Dylan Ferdinand making a layup vs. Arlington.
It was not the way Belmont High Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Adam Pritchard wanted his team to prep before facing a pair of strong basketball squads in the Boston Amateur Basketball Club’s annual Holiday Classic in Boston over the holiday break.
An inspired game by host Arlington High School minus the solid games Belmont had been playing in the first four games of the season added up to a loss for the Marauders, knocking them from the undefeated.
Tied at 58 after a layup with 12 seconds remaining, Belmont’s defense could not contain Arlington’s junior guard Colin McNamara (a game high 17 points) who drove through the Marauders defense to score the winning bucket with 1.2 seconds left and give Arlington (4-1) the 60-58 win over Belmont (4-1) on Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Pritchard didn’t mince words disecting the defeat.
“We played lousy defense, we didn’t box out. You lose by two points, you think it comes down to this and that. But flat out, right down to the last play of the game when [McNamara] beat us off the dribble. That play happened over and over again,” said Pritchard.
“I’m sure all our guys are disappointed but this game isn’t that complicated. You keep the guys in front of you, you box out, you limit them to one shot and that did not happen,” he said.
A close affair for the entire game, both teams came out guns ‘a blazing, scoring 18 points in the first quarter with seven Marauders getting on the scoring column led by senior shooting guard Cole Bartels (10 points) with a three and a two
The Marauders kept up the pressure in the paint in the second quarter as senior Luke Peterson (9 points) dropped in a pair of hoops as well as a free throw to contribute five of Belmont’s 12 points, giving the visitors a 30-27 lead at the half.
After the break, Arlington found its D and worked hard fronting Belmont’s players, limiting the Marauders to mostly outside shots. Senior point guard Matt Kerans (16 points) and Bartels each hit open threes but Belmont could only muster two other baskets while Danny Slebodnick led the SpyPonders with 7 points which tallied 16 points to Belmont’s 10 in the third, and falling behind the hosts ssssaasaby three, 43-40.
“They played better defence than us. It didn’t have anything to do with home or away,” said Pritchard.
The fourth stanza saw Belmont hanging around one to three points from the Arlington lead, cutting it to a single point, 54-53 with three minutes to play on a Justin Wagner layup.
After swapping a basket and a free throw (Belmont missed a third, 6 of 18, of their chances from the charity strip), a good defensive stance gave the Marauders the ball wth 26 seconds left. A drive by Kerans opened the court for junior sixth man Dylan Ferdinand (6 points) to hit a layup with 12 second remaining to tie the game.
Yet the basket wasn’t enough to secure a chance at overtime.
Belmont will spend the winter recess going against some heavy hitters in the Holiday Classic being held at Cathedral High School in Boston’s South End. Thirteen boys’ basketball teams, including three from out of state, will take part in the tournament.
Belmont opens the tourney vs. Everett at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 28 then taking on New Bedford at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29.