The scheduling gods did not look down favorably on Belmont High School Boys' Basketball team Friday night, Dec. 21 for its home opener. The team had come off two road losses seeking to change their fortunes with a victory in the happy confines of Wenner Field House.
Facing the Marauders would a monster challenge as Belmont faced Wakefield High School, the overwhelming favorites to win the Middlesex League's Liberty Division (Big Schools), ranked in the Boston Globe Top Ten teams and led by junior guard Bruce Brown, predicted to be playing Division 1 college basketball in a couple of years.
Yet just how powerful a struggle it would be was realized as the Warroirs' quickness and deadly inside game allowed them to jump out to a 20 point lead, 26-6, in the first seven minutes of the game.
"You're not in the game," Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard told his team midway through the first half which saw Brown (6 points) acting in true point guard fashion being the play maker rather then scorer, dishing off assists to Kendall Hamilton (10 points in the first, 16 in the game) and Anthony Hamilton (all 12 of his points came in the first) before being taken out late in the first.
Trailing 26-8 after the first quarter, Belmont began scoring with Alex Nikolaidis scoring 7 and Matt Levine with four and Belmont hit all five of their free throws to trail 42-25 at the half.
But Wakefield began exploiting their height advantage inside as center Mikol Blake-Green scored 10 of his game high 19 in the third as Brown pressed the Belmont guards, coming away with one steal that resulted in a thunderous dunk.
Trailing 60-36 at the start of the fourth, Pritchard sent in reserve guards Alex Ypsilantis (5 points) and Ben Lazenby who made their presence known hitting long-distance three pointers; Lazenby would end the quarter with 12 points (trailing lead Belmont scorer Nikolaidis who had 15) including knocking down five of six from the charity stripe.
Belmont is still looking for its first win at 0-3 while Wakefield jumps to 3-0.
Girls sick over first loss
Arriving with three wins to start the season, Head Coach Melissa Harts' Belmont High School Girls' Basketball team took its successful defensive-oriented game to 1-1 Wakefield with all reasonable expectations for them to come away with a win.
But a week-long flu that hit two of Belmont's three top players, a Wakefield team that hit 60 percent in the first and a missed free throws sent Belmont to their first defeat of the season, 47-46, against the Warriors.
"Katie (Leinbach) and Olivia (Lyons) were sick all week and it showed," said Hart, as the pair finished well below their game averages with eight and five points respectively.
With the pair of the bench, Wakefield went on a tear, outscoring Belmont 25 to 4 in the second quarter to trail 32-17 at the half.
Hart then turned to two seniors, co-captain guard Amari Bradshaw and center Kate Zolner, to pick up the team and they responded with Zolmer scoring a career high 18 points and countless rebounds while Bradshaw led the defense and offense, playing all but a minute of the 32 minute game.
Still down by ten after three quarters, the Marauders tied the game with two minutes left but could not get off a final shot as Wakefield was on the favorable end of a questionable foul in the final minute.
But Hart said she could not complain too much as her team missed 11 free throws in the game.
"We hit only two of them we go away with the win," said Hart.