Photo: Belmont’s Maiya Bergdorf (41) in action against Winchester. (David Flanagan photo)
Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Melissa Hart hadn’t heard the news until late Wednesday, Feb. 6.
“Oh really? I did not see that,” she wrote after being informed that her team was on top of the Boston Globe Top 20 Girls Basketball poll, ranked number 1 after the two teams that had been above them for weeks on end, Bridgewater Raynham and Cathedral, lost for the first time in the previous week.
Not that being number 1 is that unusual for an undefeated team, 15-0, whose tightest margin of victory was a 10 point victory over a tough Reading squad.
(Coincidentally, Belmont’s first opponents as number 1 is against Reading which comes into Wenner Field House on Friday, Feb. 8 with a 12-3 record and only two games behind the Marauders in the race for the Middlesex Liberty title.)
But for Hart, the rankings are fairly subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt.
“My reaction is you are as good as your last game,” she said, noting that the Globe pollsters probably “didn’t realize we were down by 1 [point] at halftime vs. Burlington.” (Her team did come back to win by 21, 55-34).
It’s been an impressive season for the Marauders, a team which Hart can put 12 players out on the floor without any drop in skills or intensity. And it’s on the defensive side which anchors the Marauders’ game as its half-court pressure has strangled most rivals attack, limiting challengers to a meager 33 points per game. Hart has the luxury to put out a crew of tall, physical players – led by seniors Jess Giorgio, Ella Gagnon and Jane Mahon – that controls the boards.
Offensively, it’s been four-year varsity guard Megan Tan leading a collection of underclass athletes with tall sophomore Maiya Bergdorf who connects from long-range or driving to the basket and a pair of freshmen guards, Nina Minicozzi and Bridgette Martin, who lead the attack.
Off the bench are sophomores Kiki Chirstofori, Emma McDevitt, Abigail Morin along with senior Alexandra Keefe, Breah Healey and junior Katie Reynolds.
As of Thursday, Hart’s attention was on the coming clash with Reading who is led by its league MVP candidate senior Haley Lightbody who was not up to her usual dominating play when Belmont won 54-44 in January.
“This is a big game for both teams, but definitely a bit do or die for them” to catch Belmont in the race for the league championship, said Hart.