The last time Meriden Patch profiled Ryan Belote it was because the high school senior was the star quarterback for Maloney’s football team. This time he is the Spartans’ standout player on the basketball court, one who might lead Maloney all the way this year.
Belote secured his place in the school’s history books last Thursday night when he not only kept Maloney’s dream 24-1 season alive by nailing a three-pointer with seconds remaining in regulation – but also went over the 1,000 point mark for his career.
Tonight the senior has another shot to keep his team moving closer to the Class L state championships, when the second-seeded Spartans take on Waterbury’s Kennedy High School in a quarterfinal matchup at home.
“I’m hoping we make it to the very end,” said Belote. “We are trying to take it game by game, we don’t want to look too far in advance.”
Averaging more than 17 points a game, Belote is not only the leading scorer for Maloney he is the 15th leading scorer in the state. Maloney has vastly improved from last season, when the team went 15-7-1 and lost a heartbreaker in the first round of state play to Norwalk 65-64.
On the football field, the senior guided the Spartans to an 8-2 record last fall, combining for more than 23 touchdowns. This was a marked change from the previous year, when Maloney’s football team went 3-7. Belote’s accomplishments on the gridiron earned him a Division IV All-CCC Conference selection.
"Ryan is not only a captain, but a coach on the field," said Maloney football head coach Bob Zito. "He sees the game from a different perspective than most young athletes."
The same could be said about Belote’s leadership skills on the basketball court.
“Ryan is a very strong captain, before every game he’s always getting us focused and ready to play,” said Belote’s teammate and friend Justin Ferreira. “In practice, he’s always looking to make sure you understand what you are doing and if you need help, he is there.”
Athletic prowess runs in the Belote family. Ryan’s father, Steve, played for Maloney’s football team before graduating in 1984. His brother, Matt, played on Wilcox Technical High School’s varsity basketball team this season as a freshman.
With all his success at both basketball and football, one may wonder which sport Belote will pursue on the college level.
“Right now I’m leaning towards basketball, and I’m looking at the University of New Haven, Southern (Connecticut State University) and Salve Regina,” Belote said.
But for now he is focused simply on the rest of the basketball season, as are his teammates.
“It has been such a fun year playing with all these guys," Ferreira said. "I wouldn’t want to be on any other team than this one. We’re just living every high school basketball player’s dream.”