If basketball gave victories for defensive intensity, the Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball squad would have a nearly perfect record.
But the game is scored by the number of baskets made, not the ferocity in keeping balls from going through the hoop.
For Belmont, its stellar defense is being left unrewarded as its offense that has gone off the rails.
For the second consecutive game, Belmont was manhandled, on Friday by Woburn High School, 55-41; a score that does not indicate just how ineffective the Marauders’ scoring touch have become.
The offensive woes were evident by looking at the scorer’s sheet as Belmont could only hit 11 baskets in the game, a rate of less than three per quarter. In one stretch of the second half, Belmont went nearly nine minutes scoring only a single two-point basket.
In a repeat of its game against Arlington, the Marauders’ were run over in the critical third quarter. Woburn exploited Belmont’s tendency to attempt a majority of its shots close to the basket by intercepting forced passes into heavy defensive coverage or creating turnovers. In one sequence of plays, Belmont did not attempt a shot on five consecutive possessions as they turned the ball over attempting to funnel the ball under the basket.
After weathering a poor start in the first quarter and cutting a late second quarter Tanners lead (24-16) in half by half time (on two free throws each by freshman Jenny Call and senior Sophia Eschenbach-Smith), it appeared Belmont would put up a fight to keep its unbeaten home record intact when freshman point guard Carly Christofori hit a driving basket in the first few seconds of the second half to put Belmont behind by only a bucket at 24-22.
But in a little over five minutes, Woburn went on a 15-0 run as it clogged the passing lanes to punish Belmont’s attempts to get close to the basket. When Belmont did get into its defensive stance, Woburn would go over it with long jump shots as Woburn star senior forward Sam D’Angelo (18 points) hit four of the Tanners’ five three-point shots.
During the run, Woburn gambled on stealing Belmont passes, which they accomplished at a high rate, leading to several fast breaks and fouls. Woburn’s sophomore point guard Marissa Gattuso (19 points) made a pair of three-point plays by making the hoop while being fouled and hitting the extra shot.
A free throw from senior Elena Bragg (who for the fourth-straight game hit double digits in points with 13) stopped the bleeding with two-and-a-half minutes to play in the third. But the score was now 39-23, and the game was essentially done.
Belmont kept playing aggressive, scrappy defense throughout the remainder of the contest, but there was little to do, but listen to the loutish utterances of the Philistines, who traveled from Woburn.
Depending on the snow and rescheduling, the next game could be Tuesday against Lexington but that is far from certain.