Photo: Carly Christofori (3) heading up court.
With Belmont High Girls’ Basketball team having a collective hiccup on the offensive side of the court in the season and home opener with Melrose on Friday, Dec. 16 – a total of 26 points after three quarters – junior captain Carly Christofori decided the final eight minutes would be a good time to answer the scoring call.
The point guard who has played every varsity game in her three years on the Marauders scored 8 of her game-high 17 points in the final stanza to help Belmont pull away from the Red Raiders and leave the Wenner (Field House) with a less than beautiful 42-31 victory.
But a win is a win for the Marauders (1-0).
“Everyone was really nervous in the first game as everyone would be. I could see that everyone was jittery,” said Christofori who finished the game with 9 rebounds and 5 steals
“The game was a lot closer than we thought it would be we needed someone to step up and help control the game,” she said.
Christofori broke a 26-26 tie a minute into the fourth quarter on a fade away jumper then grabbed a defensive rebound and drove the length of the court before being fouled. After making one of two from the line (she would go 10 for 12 from the charity strip), she and backcourt partner sophomore Megan Tan (8 points) pressured Melrose to commit a turnover.
After a put back basket from sophomore forward Jane Mahon (3 points) and another offensive rebound hoop from junior forward Greta Propp (2 points), sophomore center Jess Giorgio (6 points) threw in a sweeping hook as the shot clock buzzer went off building Belmont’s lead up to 35-28 with 2:20 left in the game. A succession of trips to the foul line for Christofori put the game out of reach.
“After the third quarter, we said ‘we can beat this team. We just need to relax” That’s when everyone settled down, and people were stronger with the ball,” said Christofori.
If Belmont’s offense showed opening night nerves, the defense was in mid-season trim as the hands-up two-three zone was quite active with Giorgio swatting away three Red Raider shots. When Head Coach Melissa Hart partners Giorgio with either of the Haight twins – seniors Reagan and starter Riley (2 points) – Mahon and the athletic big forward sophomore Ella Gagnon (who played her first varsity game and put in 2 of 4 free throws), it is one of the tallest defensive back three around the Middlesex League.
“Defense will be our strong suit this season. We always talk in practice to work hard on defense and the offense will come by itself,” said Christofori.
“We’re a taller team and have stronger kids so focusing on rebounding, steals and anticipating passes will get us our points,” she said.