Sports: Belmont Boys’ Basketball Wins Sectional Opener Over Chelsea

Photo: Belmont point guard Danny Yardemian.

Belmont High Boys’ Basketball’s Head Coach Adam Pritchard had one piece of advice to his team in their playoff opener against Chelsea on Wednesday, March 1.

“Everything is fast tonight,” Pritchard told the team early in the first quarter.

A simple enough request, but it would be the core of Belmont’s impressive 70-51 victory over the Red Devils of the first round of the Division 2 North sectional tourney.

The win advances the sixth-ranked Marauders (16-5) to a quarterfinals meeting with the third-seed Lynn Classical (18-3) on Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m. in Lynn.

Wednesday’s game saw Belmont supply defensive pressure creating too many problems for the entertaining but sloppy Red Devils is it brought the ball upcourt. The Marauders put the accelerator on the offensive end allowing for fast break opportunities and open shots.

Leading Belmont was sophomore point guard Danny Yardemian who ran the offense while punishing Chelsea’s loose defense to sneak through for one of several clean breaks to the basket. He would finish with a team-high 19 points.

Just seconds after winning the tip off, Yardemian nailed a 3 and Belmont would never lose the lead. They upped the advantage to 10-2 with a putback from junior forward Tomas Donoyan (8 points) which forced a timeout by Chelsea’s coach Judah Jackson just two-and-a-half minutes in. 

While Chelsea did pull back within three twice, the final time at 16-13 behind the Red Devils’ dynamic guard/forward Franklin Cruz (with a game high 20 points), Belmont senior guard Bryan Goodwin buried a three to double the lead to six at 19-13 with a minute remaining in the first. 

Taking an eight-point lead into the second, 23-15, Belmont showed its range on offense with senior Daron Hamparian sinking a pair of 3s – two of five 3s he drilled as he ended with 17 points – the second with a minute to go in the second to give Belmont a 16 point edge, 37-21.

But Chelsea scored three hoops in the final minute, using its superior height inside and the great first step of Cruz to whittle the lead at the half to 37-27. 

And the Red Devils would stay close in the third, but Belmont was out-hustling their opponents. When the Marauders needed to stop a mini-run by the Red Devils, senior captain and center Paul Ramsey – who was named a Middlesex League all-star this week – came up big, freeing himself under the basket for three buckets and a free throw for 7 of his 17 points. 

The Marauders’ finished the quarter with a play that typified the game as reserve forward senior Noah Riley (2 points) outrebounded two Chelsea players on the offensive boards then bulleted a pass to senior Cal Christofori (4 points) for the layup and a 56-45 point lead.

The fourth quarter saw both teams revert to more standard half court games without the manic-style defense from the previous 24 minutes. Belmont would slowly inch ahead until the margin hit 20 points, 67-47, late in the game. 

Hamparian said the win “shows just how much potential this team has and well we can do when we play as a team.” He said despite coming in with a height deficit, “we show a lot of heart to do this well especially winning rebounds.”

What can fans expect from the Marauders at the Saturday matinee against Lynn Classical?

“Running, running and more running,” he said.

IMG_8371 IMG_8376 IMG_8381 IMG_8387 IMG_8390 IMG_8395 IMG_8397 IMG_8408 IMG_8437 IMG_8446 IMG_8457 IMG_8464 IMG_8467 IMG_8476 IMG_8492 IMG_8499 IMG_8515 IMG_8523

Sports: Lazenby’s Last-Second Goal Sends Belmont Boys’ Soccer to D2 North Semis

Senior midfielder Ben Lazenby‘s second goal of the game, coming “at the death” of regular time, gave Belmont High School Boys’ Soccer a dramatic 2-1 victory over hosts Chelsea High Saturday night, Nov. 8.

With less than 15 seconds remaining in the second half, senior forward Luke Gallagher delivered the free kick – senior midfielder Sami Belkadi was fouled 25 meters out – to the onrushing Lazenby who headed the ball behind the reach of Chelsea’s goalie Angel Figueroa.

“I knew that time was running out and that we would have only a couple more chances. I told [senior midfielder] Danny [Rizzo] this is my ball and go back post and maybe I’ll head it to you,” Lazenby told the Belmontonian and Belmont Marauders Media.

“I just made the run like I did the whole game and [senior forward] Luke [Gallagher] played a great ball. I was open and I finished,” said the co-captain who started the scoring in the first half with another header off a free kick.

See Lazenby’s post game interview and his two goals here, courtesy of the BMM.

The rousing win against a tenacious and skilled Red Devils propels the Marauders (15-3-2) into the Div. 2 North sectional semifinals against the number-one seed Concord- Carlisle Regional High School in Chelmsford on Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.

The undefeated Patriots (17-0-1) is currently ranked second in the Boston Globe Top 20 Boys’ Soccer teams, having held the number one spot for most of the season. The team, led by Head Coach Ray Pavik, won the 2010 Div. 2 state championships and were state finalists the next year.

The last time the two teams met was in a first-round encounter in the 2012 sectionals where Concord-Carlisle came back from a two-goal, second half deficit to defeat the Marauders, 3-2, in overtime.

“We can only prepare our own team, we have no control how Concord-Carisle will play,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane. 

With a Concord-Carlisle assistant coach watching from the stands, Belmont – despite being without leading scorer senior midfielder Charlie Frigo – used its quickness and physical advantages to close down on the slow-starting Red Devils who attempted to catch the Marauders on the counter attack. In the few ventures into the Marauder area, Belmont’s back line, anchored by senior defender Amar Fernald, swept aside the challenge.

Lazenby’s first goal came from sophomore defender Edward Stafford‘s long ball off a free kick with 16 minutes remaining in the half. The team’s midfield quarterback out-jumped the scrum 10 meters from goal and looped a perfect header over the retreating Figueroa.

The second half saw Chelsea come out with a confident resolve in their game, stringing short passing with quick dribbling through the middle of the field showing a great deal of flair and creativity with the ball. Led by midfielder Wilbert Tejada – one of the most best players Belmont met this season – and Derilson DePina, Chelsea used its momentum to keep the majority of the action in the Marauders end of the field.

“They kind of dominated us in the second half,” said Lazenby.

“It’s always a challenge to meet a team that plays a style that we don’t see during the regular season so they took it to us in the second half,” said Bisceglia-Kane.

The Red Devils knotted up the score at one when Tejada placed a pass onto the feet of a streaking Carlos Cartagena who beat Belmont goalkeeper Peter Berens with 24 minutes left in the second half . 

With Belmont relying for long stretches on players such as senior forward Norman Kilavatitu due to injuries, “it got ragged out there,” said Bisceglia-Kane, who called a timeout 90 seconds after the Chelsea goal to speak to his on-field captains before talking to the team. 

Belmont was able to keep Chelsea from taking the lead by asserting “more pressure and working together as a team,” said Lazenby.

As the game entered the late stages, Belmont was able to exploit space down the right side – Belmont nearly scored with eight minutes remaining but a one-timer by Gallagher skipped over sophomore Daron Hamparian‘s left foot at the left post – where some tenacious work by Belkadi resulted in the foul that set up Lazenby’s heroics.

For Bisceglia-Kane, the game showed the players there is always a way back from adversity on the pitch.

“Their goal only tied it up so it wasn’t as if we went behind. But it showed that we have the ability to meet the challenge of being scored on and play our game.”