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Lady Raiders open with convincing win



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Freshman forward Chayleigh Cadarette reaches for a rebound during Belmont’s 32-16 win over Farmington. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
December 12, 2011
BELMONT – It had all the elements of a season-opener on Dec. 6. But despite some early struggles, the Belmont High School girls' basketball team did what it had to do in the end, pulling away for an easy 32-16 win over Farmington High School in Division III action.

"We had some of those first game jitters, especially early," admitted BHS coach Amy West. "But I thought we were able to shake them off fairly quickly. We played better after those first couple of minutes."

Seven players scored for the Red Raiders, with all 10 seeing time on the floor in a well-balanced offensive and defensive attack.

"It's nice everyone got in tonight," said West. "And it's also nice that when we do get them in, there's really no drop off with our play. I can rotate everyone in there and we're still playing at a good level."

There wasn't much action in the opening quarter, as Belmont led 8-2 after the game's opening frame. Senior Lauren Price scored the first basket of the season when she sank a layup to put the Raiders up 2-0 with 6:10 left. Myranda Lewis added a jumper to make it 4-2 before Price and Elizabeth Yelle rounded out the scoring from the free throw line to account for the 8-2 advantage.

Turnovers and loads of fouls on both teams made for a choppy first quarter, as both teams were shooting in the bonus late in the period. That type of play is usually typical of a season-opener, but Belmont rebounded and came out firing in the second quarter behind a high-pressure pressing defense that caused four consecutive turnovers at one point in the period.

"I really wasn't that upset about how we started because our defense was playing well throughout the whole game," said West. "When we get out and pressure, that's when we can create offense in transition and we were able to do that a few times to get a lead."

Freshman Amelia Kotusky put home a layup to push the lead to 10-2 and the advantage would grow to 16-2 after hoops from Kaylyn Bellamo, Mikaela Guertin and Lewis, forcing Farmington to call a timeout. The 12-0 run last nearly nine minutes, and the visiting Tigers never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way. Belmont held the visitors to just six points in the first half.

"Farmington's always an aggressive team but we handled their pressure well," West said. "Towards the end, when you've got a big lead, it can be hard because in an uptempo game like that, you try to slow it down because the more time that ticks off the clock, the better. We did a better job slowing things down late in the game."

Freshman Chayleigh Cadarette took over in the fourth quarter, as she scored eight of her game-high 10 points in the final stanza, including a nice offensive rebound and putback after a teammate's missed free throw. Cadarette, Kotusky and Cassie Contigiani all looked good in their first varsity games, something West is hopeful will be a constant this winter.

"All three of those girls did some good things when they were out there," the coach said. "For being freshmen on varsity and playing their first games, they all contributed. Chayleigh scored some points in that fourth quarter, Amelia had a basket and some rebounds, and Cassie played well defensively and handled the point for us at times."

Price finished with seven points in the win while Lewis chipped in six in a solid effort along the front line.

"We've got a lot to work on but there were a lot of things to be proud of for our first time out," said West.

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