Instructions for a win on the basketball court: Eighteen points in the first quarter. Repeat.
With 36 points in the bank at the half, Belmont High School Girls' Basketball cruised to a 3-0 early season record with a dominating performance against Stoneham High School (0-3) Tuesday night, Dec. 18, defeating the Spartans, 64-38, at Belmont's Wenner Field House.
Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart praised her four senior starters – co-captains Oliva Lyons, Katie Leinbach, Amari Bradshaw and Katie Zolner – in leading the way to the victories.
"It shows when you have a group who have been playing together for the past four years," said Hart who noted the work of Bradshaw on the defensive end of the court as she shut down Stoneham's leading scorer Samantha Trant, limiting the senior to eight points.
Belmont's defense – the team can put out three players (Leinbach, Zolner and sophomore Linda Herlihy) who measure 5' 11'' and routinely rotate four quick guards (Bradshaw, fellow starter sophomore Sophia Eschenbach-Smith with juniors Ashleigh Chinn and Gabbie Joyal coming off the bench) – proved too much for the Spartans who could manage more than 10 points in only one quarter.
On the offensive end of the court, Lyons continued her stellar play under the basket, going for her second double-double with 17 points and a remarkable 19 boards. While Lyons pounded the inside, Leinbach saw the return of her scoring touch of last year as she poured in 23 points which included three three-pointers.
By the fourth quarter, Hart was playing many of her reserves, the reverse of the past two years when Belmont suffered double-digit beatings.
Boys can't recover from flat third at Stoneham
Belmont Boy's Basketball Head Coach Adam Pritchard said after a pair of away losses, there is no reason to change course how the team plays.
"It is a work-in-progress and we have only played twice and I have seen a great deal of effort out of the team," said Pritchard after Belmont lost to Stoneham High School, 65-50, on the road.
As in their game with Watertown, Belmont (0-2) kept it close, in the case of Tuesday's game against the Spartans overcoming a 12-2 opening deficit to finish the first half outscoring their opponents 21-14 in the second quarter to be within shouting distance, 34-28, with 16 minutes remaining to play.
But an eight point third left Belmont facing a 15 point hill to climb (51-36) that was too much for the team to battle back from.
Sam Kerans led the Marauders with 12 points (10 in the first half including a pair of treys). For the second time in as many games, freshman guard Adam Kleckner (6 points) came off the bench to provide a spark with forward Alex Nikolaidis (10 points) hitting double digits for the second game in a row.