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Basketball: Woburn Double Dip as Belmont Boys', Girls' Fall to Tanners

In a rare return to the once popular scheduling of boys' and girls' varsity basketball matches between schools at the same venue – this "doubleheader" approach was ended in the 2012-13 season after a Lexington resident questioned the placement of most of the girls' games before the boys' – Belmont's two varsity teams set off for Woburn Memorial High School Friday, Jan. 10, for contests against stiff Tanner competition.

And it turned out that the Marauders were in for a double dip against Woburn as both varsity teams fell in defeat.

Girls' Basketball: Tale of two halves … again

Fans of the Boston Celtics can relate their favorite NBA team's plight with the Belmont High School Girls' Basketball team: Great first half; not so great second.

And just like the hometown Celts in their current eight game losing streak, the Marauders (1-4) stayed toe-to-toe with the best team in the Middlesex League (6-0) on their home court, using stellar defense and a wonderful, crisp passing offense to trail by a mere four points to the undefeated Tanners, 27-23. 

The first half saw Belmont come back from a 22-12 deficit with a 11-5 run led offensively by senior forward Talene Sagherian (8 points, 4 in the half) and the guard tandem of Sophia Eschenbach-Smith (4 of her 5 points in the second) and frosh Kayla Kaloostian (2 points) while defensively junior Linda Herlihy (5 points) and sophomore Sarah Stewart (2 points) clogged the lane and took down a good share of the rebounds. 

But a quick five points by Woburn in the opening seconds of the second quarter appeared to fluster the Marauders, opening the flood gates for a 15-0 run in the first four-and-a-half minutes by the Tanners – led by senior captain Vanessa Carbone and junior "Sam" D'Angelo each with 11 points in the game – effectively closing the book on the game.

"I didn't tell them much at the half since I wanted them to go out there and do what they had just done," said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart. 

"But once Woburn pulled ahead, they were not the same. They have to learn to respond to some big offensive plays by the other team," she said. 

Tanners sent best wishes to Belmont from downtown in big win

The Biblical saying goes: you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

In the case of the Woburn Tanners, they live by the three or die not making the three.

On Friday's late game, the Belmont High School Boys' Basketball team (5-2) were sent to their first Middlesex League loss of the year as the Tanners drained a gaudy 11 three-point bombs to defeat the Marauders, 64-55.

For Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard, who celebrated his birthday agonizing on the bench, analyzing the game in which the Tanners (6-1) scored more points (33) from beyond the arc than twos (24) and free throws (7) was easy. 

"We were lousy tonight," he said, praising the Tanners for having "a well-coached team who showed us something."

If Belmont's defense was suspect in allowing for many open-look three point shots, the offense – which had been scoring an average of 70 points a game –  was also spotty. For a team that has multiple players in double digits each game, only a pair of Marauders – junior center Adam Kleckner (15 points) and sophomore Matt Kerans (13 points with two 3s) – could breech the mark.

Kerans put Belmont up 13-9 with 1:19 remaining in the first but would enter the second quarter trailing 14-13 on a driving hoop by sophomore Mat Catizone (13 points). That's when the bombs began draining as the Tanners hit four in a row from downtown to lead 28-23 before finishing the quarter ahead 30-23.

At the start of the third quarter, Woburn went back to want worked, hitting another three from downtown to increase their lead to 10, 33-23. But it was third that the Marauders went on a 10-0 in 90 seconds to tie the score at 38-38 at 3:09 left on a Kerans three, an Aaron Croce (4 points) bucket from in close, a three from senior guard Ben Lazenby (7 points) and a driving layup by Kerans.

But just as Belmont seemed to gain the upper hand, Woburn reverted back to its most effective weapon, a pair of consecutive long threes from Dan Moscat (9 points) and senior Andrew Murphy (game high 18 points with three 3s) that put the Tanners on top 48-42 entering the final quarter. And while Belmont cut the deficit down to two, 55-53 on a Kerans' hoop and one, the Tanners' Catizone knocked in his second three of the game joined by Deion Williams' (7 points) only three in the game to end any comeback hopes.

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