Sports: Belmont Girls’ Hoops Reach Playoffs with Win Over Rockets

Photo: Belmont’s Sara Lyons (left) against Reading.

Behind a complete team performance, Belmont High Girls’ Basketball is returning to the postseason after its 65-42 victory over hosts Reading on Friday, Feb. 12.

“It was a full-out team effort, for sure,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart

“We haven’t scored that many points in a while because it was well-rounded scoring. A lot of players contributed and that’s because we were moving the ball around,” Hart said.

Belmont’s 10th win (10-6) secures a spot in the MIAA Division 2 North sectionals.

But Hart is not looking towards the playoffs just yet.

“We have a long way to go before then, with four games left in the season, and that’s a lot of games,” she said.

Sophomore guard Jenny Call (5 of her team-high 18 points in the first quarter) and senior co-captain Samari Winklaar (half of her 8 total points in the first) helped Belmont take a 15-12 after the first.

Belmont’s improving defense took command in the second quarter, holding Reading to five points as the Marauders tripled the Rocket’s output with 16 in the quarter led by sophomore point guard Carly Christofori (a basket and 3 for 4 from the line in the second) and the overall play from senior forward Sara Lyons. 

A role player for the season, Lyons has seen her minutes increase due to the absence of senior co-captain Sarah Stewart and she has taken advantage of her increased role on both ends of the court. On Friday, Lyons hit for a season-high 9 points including a three from distance to go along with her posting up against Reading’s centers.

“It’s fun just getting out there and prove myself, that’s a big part of it,” said Lyons, who is happy to admit that “when I’m, I will take the shot.” 

The Marauders took their 31-17 halftime lead and kept it in double digits despite the effort of Reading’s freshman sensation Haley Lightbody who had 17 points going 11-14 from the free throw line. The quarter ended with senior co-captain Irini Nikolaidis (8 points) hitting a drive with 15.9 seconds remaining to give Belmont an unsurmountable 45-31 lead. 

“I was pleased what I saw tonight because a lot was not bouncing our way early in the game. We kept our cool and composure,” said Hart, noting the play of senior Sophia Cellucci who downed a pair of threes in the final stanza. 

Lyons believes the team, which went through a hard patch recently (1-5 before their last two game which they won), can have a successful run in the playoffs.

“I think we can do really well when we play as a team. Clearly we can come together and play really well especially in games like tonight when everyone contributes. That helps a lot,” said Lyons.

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