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Season comes to a close for Belmont hoop boys in Somersworth

Richie Perez tries to blow past Somersworth’s Collin Francoeur. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
March 07, 2011
SOMERSWORTH – On the road against a powerful opponent, the Belmont High School boys' basketball team saw its season come to an end on March 1, as the 14th-seeded Red Raiders fell to third-seeded Somersworth, 69-37, in a Division III preliminary round game.

Belmont (8-12) looked good early on, as seniors Chris Brace and Richie Perez scored back-to-back hoops to give the Raiders a quick 4-2 lead with 5:12 left in the first quarter. Brace would add a jumper and Ryan Pooler's layup with 3:25 gave Belmont an 8-5 advantage.

"We stayed tough in the first quarter and put some pressure on Somersworth right away," said Belmont coach Scott Currier. "They're a great team and we needed to get out to a good start right off the bat."

While Belmont had a play-in win over Hillsboro-Deering just three nights earlier, Somersworth had over a week off between games and the rust showed in the first five minutes.

The Hilltoppers (17-2) finished the opening period on a 6-0 run however, with leading scorer Bobby Shatinsky accounting for four of his game-high 19 points during the run. Somersworth carried that momentum into the second quarter, as Shatinsky drained a three-pointer and added a turnaround jumper for a 16-8 'Topper lead.

The Somersworth defensive pressure really bothered Belmont in the second quarter, as the Hilltopper guards got out and extended themselves into the backcourt to force several key turnovers. After a Brace layup, Somersworth went on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 24-10 with 3:54 left before halftime.

"Turnovers were really the key for us," said Currier. "We had a hard time getting into our sets in the half court and it made the difference. Once we got set, we were okay but it didn't happen nearly enough for us."

Kaleb Brace added a jumper and Pooler put home a layup while being fouled before halftime as the Hilltoppers led 28-15 at the break.

Belmont wouldn't get any closer than 13 points however, as Somersworth started the third quarter on an 11-2 run to take a commanding 39-17 lead with 2:25 left.

Kaleb Brace sank a three-pointer late in the frame as Belmont trailed 45-24 entering the fourth quarter Perez scored five of his team-high 12 points in the fourth, while Chris Brace also had five points in the period to finish with 11 on the night. Pooler had eight points while Kaleb Brace chipped in six.

"I'm proud of the kids," said Currier. "They gutted it out and didn't pack it in. This group of seniors made it to the tournament three years in a row and got some wins during that span so there's nothing to hang their heads about."

The loss was the third to Somersworth this season, as Belmont lost by eight on Jan. 25 and 20 on Jan. 11.

"We saw them three times so we had an idea of what kind of team they were," Currier said. "They're a tough team, no question. They're number three for a reason because they have a bunch of guys who can score."

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