It will be like looking into a mirror Tuesday night as seventh-seed Belmont High School Girls' Basketball team will be heading to neutral-site Burlington High School to take on the sixth-seed North Andover Scarlet Knights in the semifinals of the Division 2 North Sectionals.
The game – tip off is scheduled at 7 p.m. – will see two teams that play a similar game and had comparable seasons.
Tuesday's game was set up after Head Coach Melissa Hart's Belmont (13-9) team doubled up second-ranked Boston Latin Academy, 55-26, Friday, while North Andover (14-8) came back from a deep hole to beat third-ranked hosts Arlington Catholic, 57-43.
Each team started the year on a roll – Belmont 7-1, North Andover 9-1 – before they both went on multi-game losing streaks only to rebound by winning just enough to enter the playoffs.
Both teams rely on a strong defense to set up their offenses; Belmont is led by senior guard Amari Bradshaw and the Knights by Pam Coufos. Under the basket, expect Marauders power forward Olivia Lyons – the senior played only two minutes in their playoff win at Latin Academy Friday – will be battling North Andover's Michaela Mello for rebounds and second-chance shots while Belmont's Katie Leinbach, who scored 28 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against Latin Friday and had 19 vs. Charlestown will lead the Belmont offense against Scarlet Knight's star Morgan Lumb (who will be playing hoops next year at Division 1 Hartford) who scored 15 and 22 points in her previous two playoff games.
While Belmont likes to play a tight 2-3 zone and score from the inside, North Andover will launch the three pointers – the scored six in their Sunday playoff win against favorite Arlington Catholic – and play a tight, intense defense style looking to create mistakes and turnovers (their guards Coufos and Leah Chittick each had five steals Sunday.)
Belmont has been on a roll in the last three games, dominating Division 1 tournament team Lexington in their final regular season game and winning both playoff games without trailing, while North Andover has had to struggle in both their tournament games, winning a tight match with Tewksbury High and trailing Arlington Catholic 19-3 early in the game Sunday before storming back to win 57-43.
The teams have had only one common opponent: Belmont beat Stoneham easily, 64-38, while North Andover prepped for the playoffs with a 45-33 win over the Spartans.