Photo: Cole Bartels (center) heading up court on the break against Wilmington.
If senior co-captain Cole Bartels hadn’t committed to pitch for Division 1 Penn State, said Belmont High School Head Coach Adam Pritchard, “there would be a few colleges looking at him.”
Pritchard’s praise for the 6’2″ shooting guard came after Bartels scored 16 points in the first eight minutes of the home opener before finishing with a game high 24 points to lead an up-tempo Marauder squad over visiting Wilmington High, 89-50, on Monday, Dec. 21 at the Wenner.
In the first varsity basketball game on the newly installed court, Bartels stroked six three-point baskets in the first half, threatening the school record of nine threes in a game. His 22 first half points led Belmont (4-0) to a 25-9 first quarter advantage that soon extended to a 56-25 halftime lead over the winless Wildcats (0-3).
“We’ve played well in the past three games. And while it’s easy to dismiss a good start because of the records of the teams we’ve played, it’s because [the team] has bought into this type of basketball,” said Pritchard whose team is coming off a solid win, 72-56, over Boston English High School this weekend.
Belmont quickness and height advantage coupled with Wilmington’s less than stellar shooting percentage allowed the Marauders to run and hide with the big lead.
Senior point guard Matt Kerans (13 points with three threes) controlled the tempo, Dylan Ferdinand came off the bench for some big points in the paint (6 of his 7 points came in the second quarter) while big men senior forwards, Justin Wagner (9 points) and Joe Shaughnessy (2 points), controlled the boards on both ends of the dark blue and stone gray court.
With a big lead in the second half, Pritchard gave his role players extended minutes on the court.
Senior guard Damian Bitsikas hit for double digits (11 points) with a trio of threes, backcourt mate Deron Hamparian tossed in a deuce of treys finishing with 9 points while football players senior center Lowell Haska (2 points) drained a brace of free throws while junior guard Ben Jones (2 points) connected with a jumper. And finally, junior guard Nick Volante knocked down a shot.
Next up for the Marauders is a visit with the SpyPonders of Arlington High on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 5 p.m. before fighting a gauntlet of three physical and tough teams beginning with Everett over the winter recess.
“We’ll find out what we are made of,” said Pritchard.