Nine and three.
That sounds pretty good to Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Melissa Hart coming off the court after her squad used its trademark blanket defense to defeat Reading Memorial High, 67-32, Friday, Jan. 30 at Belmont’s Wenner Field House.
Now if Hart’s players would be a little more … selfish.
“They are so humble and generous that they’re passing when they should take the shot,” said Hart, recalling one of her players dishing the ball to a covered teammate rather than taking an uncontested layup.
Yet Hart’s sees a silver lining to the team’s “need” to share the rock.
“That’s not a bad situation to have because they are always looking for the open player,” said Hart.
With nine wins in twelve games, this season’s Marauders are in the midst of the best run in more than a decade. The team is a single win away from automatically qualifying for the MIAA Div. 2 North Sectional tournament.
But will the weather finally cooperate? In the past 10 days, Belmont has seen three games cancelled due to dual snowstorms that settled over eastern Massachusetts including Tuesday’s game away at Arlington. Belmont will get their chance on Wednesday, Feb. 4, at Arlington in a rematch of an earlier game in which the Marauders came from nine-points down in the third quarter to defeat the SpyPonders, 62-54, on Jan. 6.
On Friday, both teams came out a little worst for wear after their storm-related layoffs, with Belmont taking a 5-4 lead after the first eight minutes. In the second quarter, sophomore Sara Stewart (4 points) got the Marauders going with a pair of buckets between a fast-break layup from freshman Jenny Call (9 points including another 3 point shot from the outside threat) put Belmont up by 7 (13-6).
At this point, Belmont’s spotlight defense took over as the Marauders created four consecutive steals, three by senior forward Elena Bragg, in 90 seconds leading to five points (four by Bragg) and Belmont was off and running. By the end of the quarter, Belmont outscored the Rockets, 24 to 10, to lead 28-14.
Friday was the third consecutive game Bragg has come up big on the offensive boards and on the score board, scoring 14 points against Reading.
“The team is working well, our energy level was been high so its so easy to take the lead and get those points,” said Bragg.
The Marauders’ defense limited Reading to 5 points in the third to seal the win. Hart started using many of her bench players in the third (“They are so valuable for this team because they practice our starters extremely hard,” she said) and they stepped up. Senior guard/forward Sara Lyons (6 points) stroke a pair of threes while junior point guard Ani Maroyan (4 points) hit a jumper and two from the charity stripe. Super junior sixth man Samari Winklaar pumped in 11 of her game high 15 points (along with 6 rebounds and 2 steals) in the second half as spark plug junior guard/forward Meghan Ferraro (3 points) threw in a three from downtown. Running the floor was senior Kayla Magno while fellow senior Lauren Noonan clamped down on the defensive end of the court.
Belmont will be tested this week facing a tough Arlington team on Wednesday and host one-loss Woburn on Friday that defeated Belmont by three points last month.