Sports: Girls’ Hoops Dismiss Wakefield With ‘Perfect’ First; Enters Top 25 [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont’s defense held Wakefield to a single basket in the first quarter.

For the final three-quarters, the 10-1 Wakefield Warriors played host Belmont just about even, scoring 33 points to the Marauders 32.

There was just one problem for Wakefield: a first quarter of perfection by the Marauders.

In the game’s initial eight minutes, Belmont (9-2, 9-1 in the league) played with the intensity and skill that would make the UConn Huskies proud, annihilating the 17th-ranked Warriors (10-2) 24-2 as Belmont dismissed Wakefield, 56-35 on Friday, Jan. 27.

“Wow,” said one of Belmont’s assistant coaches at the end of the first as the players came to the bench in wide-eyed astonishment, looking up at the scoreboard just to confirm what they had accomplished.

It was a quarter that Marauders’ suffocating defense stifled all but a single shot while its offense was nearly flawless, grabbing offense rebounds and making shots from in close and from a distance.

In a win in which each Marauder contributed to the victory, the night’s standout was sophomore center, Jess Giorgio. While a defensive stalwart since her freshman year – which came to the fore during last season’s playoff run – Giorgio offensive production has steadily increased through the season to where she has become a clear threat on both ends of the court.


Friday, Giorgio dominated the first quarter, hitting jumpers and free throws, grabbing rebounds, and making three assists on the first four Belmont baskets. In the final minute, she created a traveling offense, took a charge and made a driving layup with time running out to finish off the 24 point explosion. She finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double in three games.

“It was really, really fun to come out really hard … because we knew we had to come out to beat them.  They’re one of the biggest competitors in the league … it was a really good team win,” said Giorgio to the Belmontonian.

It was a team win from the open tipoff as Belmont’s starters outpaced Wakefield. A Giorgio offensive rebound led to a jumper from sophomore guard Meghan Tan followed by a 3 from junior forward Jenny Call. Giorgio converted a pair of free throws, a jumper, and two big defensive rebounds as Tan pickpocketed Wakefield guards for a pair of steals and junior guard and two-time all-star Carly Christofori hitting a three and free throws. By the time Wakefield called its first timeout at 3:24 remaining in the first, Belmont was up 18-2.

But the reprieve did not cool off Belmont as junior guard Alexa Sabatino 3-pointer and Giorgio’s final scoring spurt ended the quarter. While there were 24 minutes remaining in the game, the contest was essentially over.

Belmont kept the lead above 20 until midway through the fourth quarter when a Wakefield 3 cut the lead to 17 (50-33). But baskets by Giorgio (outrebounding a pair of Warrior defenders), sophomore Jane Mahon and Riley Haight gave Belmont its final margin of victory.

Next up for Belmont is a trip to meet the SpyPonders at Arlington on Friday, Feb. 3. 

Late-Inning Heroics (Again) Gives Belmont High Baseball Another Win

Photo: Nick Call about to celebrate his game winning single against Wakefield.

“I’m too old for this,” said Belmont High School Head Baseball Coach Jim Brown.

After seeing the team blow a two-run lead in the top of the 7th inning against Wakefield, Brown was standing in the third base coaching box watching the Marauders load the bases on a walk and two infield singles in the bottom of the inning.

And with the count full with two outs, left fielder Nick Call (2 for 3, 2 RBIs) beat out yet another infield hit to bring home nine-hitting Matt Kerans to give Belmont a 3-2 win over Wakefield (7-3) on Monday, May 4, at Brendan Grant Field, for its seventh win in 11 contests this season.

Belmont is making a “habit” of waiting until the late innings or into extra frames to pull out (or in come cases lose) games this season, said Brown.

And Monday was no exception as Belmont worked hard behind ace junior pitcher Cole Bartels to carry a 2-0 lead into the 7th with single runs in the 4th and 6th.

First base Robbie Montanaro laced a no-out double and came home on an error after DH’s Noah Riley‘s single for the first run, while the second run came courtesy of some good hustle from catcher Cal Christofori (2 for 3 including two singles and an intentional walk) who singled, stole second and came home on Call’s first single of the game.

Unlike previous games, Belmont was able to get on base but couldn’t push across a run early. They left the bases loaded in the first and outstanding freshman third base Kevin Dacey continues to impress at the plate when he ripped an extra-base hit down the right field line only to be caught trying for a triple in the bottom of the second.

Bartels was cruising along throwing 10 strike outs including striking out Wakefield’s 3-4-5 batters in the 4th. And his defense got him out of jams such as when Christofori cut down a Wakefield runner attempting to steal second with two outs and a man on third in the 2nd inning.


But Bartels nearly lost it all in the top half of the 7th, hitting a batter, allowing a long double and an infield hit loaded the bases. Two consecutive singles brought in the first and tying runs before he settled down to retire the side on two pop ups and his tenth K.

Kerans started the rally with an in-between shot that the Wakefield third baseman could not get over to first quick enough to beat the speedy outfielder. With two outs, Bartels helped his own cause with a squibbed hit to put men on first and second. Rather than face Christofori, he was given a free pass to load the bases so Wakefield’s pitcher would face Call. That turned out to bite the visitors as a long throw pulled the Wakefield first baseman off the bag, allowing Call to reach and Kerans to score.

Just another game in Belmont.

3 Up, 3 Down, Tournament Bound: Belmont Girls’ Hoops Strides into Post-Season

Three games in three days is a tough proposition for most professional teams. For a squad of high schoolers, a trio of games in as many days is a daunting prospect.

So when the Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball team was forced because of the numerous snow storms to play a triple header – two of the opponents playoff-bound with double digit wins – at the end of last week, the coaching staff was a bit concerned how the team would stand up to playing 96 minutes within 48 hours.

“It’s not what we are looking to end our [Middlesex] league schedule and get into the playoffs,” said Melissa Hart, Belmont’s head coach as the team was coming off a two-game losing streak and standing a single game from making the post-season.

But by 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 13, the Marauders had completed a three-peat, defeating Lexington, Wakefield and Winchester to stride into the Div. 2 North Sectional playoffs. With a pair of post-season tournament games on Monday and Tuesday remaining, Belmont has upped its record to 12-5, one of the team’s best marks in the past decade.

“It’s nice to be [in the playoffs] so some of the pressure will be off the team,” said Hart, after the team’s victory against 12-win Lexington, 51-45, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, giving the team its 10th victory and an automatic entry into the sectional tournament.

The match-up was the return of Lexington’s superstar Anna Kelly, the junior guard who scored 52 points the last time she visited Belmont’s Wenner Field House a year ago. But this time, Kelly picked up two quick fouls and sat on the Lexington bench for most of the first half.

Without their all-star point scoring and directing the squad, Lexington could not break Belmont’s unrelenting defense and the Marauders’ took the game to the Minutemen.

The game for Belmont was a tale of two players in the two halves. In the first 16 minutes, junior forward Sarah Stewart took charge, on the defensive side with four defensive rebounds, two blocks, a steal and several examples of court diving at loose balls and offensively by going three for five from beyond the 3-point line for  to power Belmont to a 28-10 lead at the half.

“Making [3 point shots] was unknown land for me,” said Steward, who said she has been encouraged by the coaches to throw up trey when she’s open.

“I now have a new home,” said Steward, who is known as Stewy by her teammates.

It was only a matter of time before Kelly would reemerge, and she did in a big way in the second half. The 5’6″ three year starter is a natural on the hardwood and she came out with a vengeance, throwing up threes and sweeping underhanded scoop shots, scoring 11 of her game-high 22 points in the third quarter to led the Minutemen back to 35-28 with the final eight minutes to play.

Soon after Stewart started the fourth with her third 3 pointer, the school’s fire alarm went off, sending players, coaches, the crowd and a collection of very young swimmers from the adjacent Higginbottom Pool out into the frigid cold for a few minutes before it was decided for everyone’s health that it was better to wait by the gym’s doors.

While many of the other players may have cooled off, freshman point guard Carly Christofori got hot for the Marauders. The 9th grader put a first-class steal on Kelly as the all-star was driving to hoop – one of Christofori’s three steals in the quarter – before racing to the offensive end to hit a trio of driving layups and going 3 for 4 from the charity stripe to score 11 of the teams 16 points in the quarter to secure the victory.

“To play against someone as good as [Kelly] and succeed some of the time is great,” said Christofori, who said the team needed to stay focus once the fire alarm went off “so we could concentrate on keeping the lead and securing the win.

Belmont’s trademark aggressive defense has been frustrating opponents who has met the Marauders for the first time and that was the case Thursday, Feb. 12 when Belmont handily defeated Wakefield, 51-30, on Seniors’ Night at the Wenner.

The Marauders pressured the Warriors – who came into the game with an identical 10-5 record – up and down the court, at times triple teaming the second Wakefield player to handle the ball. The result was 12 steals (four each from seniors Sophia Eschenbach-Smith and Elena Bragg) in a game that was the closest to a total “team” win this season. Ten Marauders’ scored and each of the 15 varsity players got time on the court.

Belmont led after the first quarter, 14-4, and 23-10 at the half with freshman Jenny Call hit two of her three 3-point in both the first and second quarter and senior center Linda Herlihy‘s mid-range jumper. The Marauders blew the game wide open with a 22-point third quarter with Stewart hitting all four of her shots.

By Friday’s away game, fatigue appeared to set in as the Marauders carried themselves over the finish line by defeating Winchester, 38-20, in a game that Hart described as “ugly.”

“Friday the 13th for both teams shooting,” she said.

Just how poor was it? Belmont led at the half 13-1. Herlihy scored a third of Belmont’s points finishing with 12 points, all from near the basket, while Call and Bragg each had 6 points.

Belmont now heads for a pair of games at the 2015 Spartan Classic in Lynn – the first against Bedford – before finishing the season with a home game Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. against Worcester North.