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Belmont boys have sights set high


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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers
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January 06, 2021
BELMONT — With four returning starters from a year ago, the Belmont boys' basketball team is set up pretty well heading into what will surely be an unusual season on many levels.

"Our goals are to be a final four team with a state championship as the ultimate goal," said coach Jim Cilley, in his seventh year at the helm of the Raiders. "The expectation is to compete at a high level every night and be playing at the highest level we can."

The Raiders will return four starters to the lineup from last year's team, led by senior captains Jackson Ruelke and Nate Sottak.

Ruelke returns after making Division III Second Team All-State last year as a junior and Sottak is back in action after a season-ending injury sidelined him midway through last season. The other two returning starters are fellow seniors Brian Carroll and Isaiah Costa. Carroll is a "glue guy" according to Cilley and Costa may be one of the better shooters in the area as well as a great on-ball defender.

The fifth starting spot will likely go to Jamison Gaudette, who had a solid freshman campaign last year.

With senior Bryce Hall and sophomores Sam Reposa, Trent Deschuiteneer and Tylor Carroll all returning to the fold, Cilley likes the depth his team has to offer. Additionally, the Raiders are welcoming junior Juan Montoya, a transfer from Florida.

"We have far more depth than a year ago," said Cilley. "Even though we lost some great kids and key role players, we like to think we should be even better and have an opportunity to take it to the next level."

The Belmont coaching staff has asked the players to use a bubble, much like the NBA, where they are asked to avoid spending time with anyone outside of immediate family and teammates, with the hope that the team can get through the season safely.

"We also have put a premium on thanks and staying connected," Cilley said. "We use 'ubuntu,' the thought of "I am because we are.'"

Like Belmont's fall sports teams, the winter teams will be playing a regionalized schedule that includes games against all local teams. They will be playing a home and home series with each team in a week, limiting the number of people they are exposed to as much as possible.

Belmont will play two games each with Gilford, Laconia, Kennett, Winnisquam, Prospect Mountain, Franklin and Inter-Lakes.

The season officially kicks off with a matchup with rival Gilford, set for Monday, Jan. 11, in Belmont. The two teams square off in Gilford on Thursday, Jan. 14, both with 6 p.m. scheduled starts.

Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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