Photo: Tyler Arno throwing up a three against Winchester.
It was a frustrating start to the holiday weekend for the Belmont High boys and girls basketball teams as their visits to cross border rivals Lexington on Friday, Jan. 14 as both teams came home nursing one-sided losses to the Minutemen.
Belmont High Girls’ came to the contest to halt both a scoring drought and losing streak which the Marauders averaged just 26 points vs Watertown and Woburn.
Belmont’s attempt to run its offense through the paint was hampered by a strong Lexington perimeter defense that produced several steals and Marauder miscues. While Belmont preferred to work inside, Lexington showed no such disinclination shooting from downtown, hitting nine threes while the Marauders came up blank from beyond the arc.
And it didn’t help that Belmont’s biggest bugaboo was going to the free throw line where the Marauders went 11 for 27, leaving 16 valuable points on the floor.
The game didn’t start well as the Marauders fell behind 7-0 after about 70 seconds before Sophie McDevitt buried two from the charity stripe. After cutting the lead to three, 7-4, on a Mia Ferrari, long two point jumper, Lexington scored twice off steals to finish the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 16-6 lead entering the second. The Minutemen stretched the advantage throwing in a trio of threes in two minutes to up the lead to 28-12 midway through the frame before Belmont scored the final five points with Cortney Howell nailing a fall away two at the buzzer to end the half trailing 28-17.
Belmont came out strong in the third cutting the Minutemen’ advantage to seven points with a Ferrari jumper. But the Minutemen responded with two threes and a bucket while Belmont missed three of four free throws to restore a double digit lead, 36-21, before extending it to 44-28 entering the final quarter And while the Marauders did go 5 for 8 from the free throw line in the final quarter, Lexington was never threatened as it won by 18, 55-37.
Belmont currently sits at 3-7 over all and 3-5 in the league.
It was showtime as the Lexington boys’ literally running away from Belmont High Boys’ Hoops early to take home a rather sloppy 75-49 win in the second game of the doubleheader. Lexington’s speed, physicality on offense and defense and their touch from outside proved too much for a Marauders team that simply couldn’t keep up with the hosts.
Not that the Minutemen didn’t give Belmont opportunities to take control of the game as Lexington players, especially in the first half, were more than happy to turn the ball over in attempts at the spectacular – they had more failed dipsy-dos then the returns department at the dipsy-do factory – when a jumper or pass would have sufficed.
While Lexington’s haphazard playing allowed Belmont a sniff at getting back into the game, the Marauders’ couldn’t get out of their own way; in one sequence down by ten, Belmont committed a pair of traveling violations and an offensive foul in three trips up the court while Lexington scored on each turnover..
Belmont did come out with a hot hand from distance with Donovan Holway hitting the first basket for a three and senor guard Tyler Arno going two for three from the arc to keep the deficit to seven early in the second quarter, 18-11. But Lexington’s League MVP candidate CJ Cox was not going to be stopped by Belmont, hitting from outside (3 for 4 from three point range in the first 10 minutes) before finishing off a fast break with a dunk to stretch the host’s advantage to 18 (29-11) just two minutes into the second quarter. At half time, Belmont was down by 17, 38-21.
For the remainder of the game, Belmont could only match basket for basket only to be victimized by Lexington’s quick hands defense and downtown shooting. After three quarters, Minutemen shot 10 for 19 from three compared to Belmont’s 4 for 11.
Belmont sits at .500 both in the Middlesex League 4-4 and overall 5-5 with a visit from Wakefield next.