Photo: Champs again.
Senior Co-captain Mac Annus was still smarting from his seven-point performance in Belmont second league defeat, a 69-63 home loss to Wakefield on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
“It was kinda rough thinking about not scoring. I made only one three,” said the Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball forward who averages in the high teens per game.
So when Belmont hosted Arlington on Friday, Feb. 7, Annus went back to what he does best on the court.
“I just started shooting and just stuck with it. Just stay confident that I’d start hitting those shots,” he said.
And Annus did just that, throwing up 35 points including nailing nine 3s to pace the Marauders to a 90-66 victory over the SpyPonders. After falling behind by nine early in the second quarter, Belmont stepped it up on the defensive end – shutting down Jr SpyPonder Myles Hess (20 pts) who burned the Marauders with five 3s in the first quarter alone – limiting Arlington to 9 points in the second.
Offensively, Belmont nearly doubled its output in the second quarter led by Annus who sank three 3s, a basket and a pair of free throws to end the half with 19. He was joined by senior Avery Arno (11 points) who drained nine points in the quarter as Belmont built a 43-32 advantage at the half.
The third quarter nearly turned into a game of horse between Annus and teammate junior Preston Jackson-Stephens (12 points in the third, 23 for the game) as the two threw in three 3s with some layups to boot with Annus scored 13 points in consecutive quarters.
Belmont’s 14th win of the season (against four losses) also clinched the Marauders consecutive Middlesex Liberty titles. The victory comes during the last half of the season which has been a struggle; a pair of losses to Middlesex Freedom rivals – snapping a two-year unbeaten streak in the League and three years undefeated at home – and wins which were secured in the final seconds.
“This is a very competitive league and you have to come prepared each night because there really isn’t an easy game in the Middlesex especially in the latter part of the season. There are no secrets that you can spring on anyone,” said long-time Belmont Head Coach Pritchard.
Yet it was also during this string of games in which the Marauders defeated a strong top-10 squad from Catholic Memorial, 86-84.
Belmont travels to the Middlesex Freedom champs Burlington (15-3) on Tuesday, Feb. 11, for the unofficial title of Middlesex League champions before ending the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 13, in a doubleheader with the Girls’ team against Woburn.