Photo: Senior Capt. Carly Christofori preparing to hit the three against Stoneham.
It’s been an easy start of the season for Belmont High School’s Girls’ Basketball teams as the team has started the 2017-18 season at 3-0.
Maybe the kickoff has been too easy as the Marauders will need to ramp up its intensity as it faces some stiff competition heading into a holiday tournament in Newton next week.
Everyone knew the Belmont High Girls’ Hoopsters were going to be a handful for both league and tourney opponents – the Boston Herald rated the Marauders as the top team in Division 1 North despite competing with the big schools for the first time.
Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart returns not just her starting five – guards Carly Christofori and Megan Tan, center Jess Giorgio, and Greta Propp and Jenny Call – from last year’s team that ended the season at 16-4 and the number-one seed in Division 2 North sectionals which reached the semi-finals, but also has talented reserves coming off the bench such as sixth-man Jane Mahon, point guard Kylie Rhone, reserve center Ella Gagnon and standout freshman Maiya Bergdorf who Hart can use anywhere on the court, as a shooting guard, power forward or center.
In its first three games, the squad has returned with a suffocating defense and an offense that is looking to run the break in transition. And the team has also included another weapon in its arsenal, hitting the long ball as the team has drained 18 3s with Call adding a total of seven treys to her school career record.
Each game demonstrated Belmont’s versatility with junior center Giorgio dominated inside both offensively (14 points in the paint) and on the defensive boards while 9th grader Bergdorf drained a trio of threes towards a game-high 16 points to complement Propp’s 11 and Call’s 10 points as Belmont ran away in the second half to beat visiting Burlington, 62-37, in the home opener.
Against Wilmington on the road, junior guard Tan scored a game-leading 15 points mostly on the break as she led Belmont to a 16 point second quarter to give the Marauders a 28-20 lead at the half. The second half was all defense as the Marauders shut down the Wildcats, allowing only three points in the third and a total of nine for the 51-29 win.
Thursday’s game against an undermanned Stoneham team was quickly decided as the Marauders took off to a 27-10 first quarter lead (led by Christofori who scored 14 of her game-high 15 points in the opening stanza) then clamped down on Stoneham, limiting the Spartans to four points in the second quarter while they jumped on junior Mahon’s back as she scored 12 of her 14 points (on 7 for 7 shooting) in a 23 point quarter to up the margin at the half to 36 points, 50-14.
Hart threw everyone but the manager onto the court as 12 of 13 Marauders got into the scorer’s book. Senior Rhone hit for 7 points while running the show with fellow senior Ally Shapazian while juniors Breah Healey (1 point), Audrey Christo (4 points), and Alex Keefe (with a downtown bomb for “THREE”) scored as Belmont won 71-25.
And the team’s X-mas “present” for its solid start will be a pair of potentially tough encounters with strong squads just after Christmas. First up will be Stoughton High on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 5 p.m. at Newton North High School. The tourney final will be on Thursday, Dec. 28 against the winner of the Newton North/Newton South game. If Newton South is Belmont’s opponent, it will likely meet senior Veronica Burton, the 5’9″ guard and Northwestern commit who is averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks per game this season.