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Basketball: Frigid Shooting Sink Girls'; Last Second Steal and Three Gives Boys' Away Win

Both teams will be playing a doubleheader at Woburn on Friday; Girls' at 5:30 p.m., Boys' at 7:30 p.m.

It was an arctic-like 7 degrees outside of the Wenner Field House on Tuesday night, Jan. 7.

The only thing colder was the collective shooting of the Belmont High School Girls' Basketball team as the squad could only throw in 30 points including just three in the final quarter as an only slightly warmer Arlington High (3-4) team expanded a third quarter lead to win going away, 46-30.

The deep freeze came after the team had two good offensive games (a 54-49 win over Melrose and a close loss, 57-48, to Stoneham) just before the winter recess. 

Blame it on the cold, the long layoff or the holiday, Belmont (1-3) could only put together two runs during the contest, the first seven points – an Ashleigh Chinn (7 points) three, a steal and layup by point guard Sophia Eschenbach-Smith (4 points) and a Sarah Stewart (6 points) basket – in 30 seconds to give Belmont its biggest lead at 16-12 with five minutes left in the second quarter.

But the Marauders would not score another point for more than a quarter of play when Stewart put in a layup at 4:35 in the third quarter and Belmont was behind the SpyPonders, 22-18. 

Stewart's bucket sparked another seven point run with senior captain Micaela McKay (5 points) hitting a three and a layup by freshman point guard Kayla Kaloostian (5 points with a three) to give Belmont its final lead, 25-24 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third.

Just as they were warming up, the cold front returned with Arlington about to double their points in the final 10 minutes of the game, lead by sophomore center Mallory DeFeo who scored 11 of her game high 13 in the second half and fellow sophomore Grace Carter who put in all 9 of her points in the final half. 

Next up for the Marauders will be at undefeated Woburn (7-0) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10.

One steal + three = win for Boys' at Arlington

While the scoreboard – and most news reports – will highlight sophomore guard Matt Kerans (14 points) hitting a three with half-a-second left in the game to power Belmont to a come-from-behind 59-56 victory over host Arlington High Tuesday, Feb. 7, Belmont High School Boys' Basketball Head Coach Adam Pritchard points to senior captain Aaron Croce as making the play of the game.

Croce didn't score, said Pritchard, but it was his hustle and smarts that opened the door for the Marauders (5-1) to escape a Milquetoast opening half, trailing 28-20, with Kerans' heroics.  

"We missed a free throw and an Arlington player looked to be in possession with three second left when [Croce] took the ball away and we called time out. That set up the play that won it," said Pritchard. 

Belmont faced a SpyPonder team (3-4) that played "very well" using a trap that frustrated the Marauders, said Pritchard. "We didn't come out with the energy that we needed," he said.

It took half time and adjustments to spring Belmont back with an emphasis on defense and making key plays on offense (including going 11 for 12 from the charity stripe) led by senior guard Keith Burns with 15 "clutch" points and junior center Adam Kleckner who scored 14 points and pulled down double digits in rebounds before fouling out with four minutes remaining in the fourth. 

"We have to show a little more effort at the start of the game so we don't need a late basket to win," said Pritchard. "This is not the first time that we needed to make a comeback."

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