Host Belmont Boys Hoops looked to a pair of veterans and a young outside sniper to beat neighbor Arlington to revenge an early season away loss and bring the team closer to sealing their bid for a postseason spot.
While basketball is a team sport, in the first quarter, John Dillon was an unstoppable one-man force as the senior captain exploded for 14 of Belmont's 21 points including a pair of monster jams that sent the student contingency in the upper deck into delirium.
Dillon's fast start allowed Belmont to stay in front early – leading 11-1 at one point – of the long-range bombing from the Spy Ponders, 21-13, after the end of the first quarter.
After taking Dillon's best punch, Arlington got their sea legs back and led by first-game hero Brendon Castro (19 points) and Tyler Sullivan (14 points) began finding the range from beyond the 19' 9" three point arc, hitting four tres in the quarter.
Leading the Marauders was senior Sam Musler (23 points) who hit all three of this free throws and both shots as Dillon sat on the bench with an ice bag on his leg.
And when 6' 7" Paul Brooks (4 points) put back an offensive rebound to tie the score at 29 with 1:13 in the half. And a David Shin three and a midcourt prayer by Castro with the buzzer going off gave the SpyPonders a 35-34 lead.
In the third, Belmont went back to a play that worked earlier in the season, with Dillon or Musler slashing to the basket before passing off the senior center Tyaishawn Abdul-Aziz who scored 8 of his 16 points in the critical third quarter giving Belmont a 54-51 lead.
And while Arlington would come as close as 65-59 with under four minutes to play, sophomore substitute Michael Burns (6 points) came off the bench to hit a pair of threes from the right baseline to put the game out of reach for the visitors.
Belmont record is 8-6.
Girls Hoops sunk by SpyPonder's strong fourth
Belmont Girls Basketball could not buy an outside shot and could not stop a determined Arlington squad as the Mauraders lost the rematch with the SpyPonders at home, 49-41, wasting Olivia Lyons' 17 points and a return of her free throw touch (9-11).
Arlington's Colleen Kane (14 points) and Hannah Howe-Lubowich (17 points) each scored 6 – all of Howe-Lubowich's points came from the charity stripe – in the fourth quarter to score 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Belmont got as close as 45-41 with about a minute in the game but could not convert on three final possessions. Katie Leinbach added 12 points for Belmont.