Boys’ basketball: Belmont exacts revenge on Winnisquam with 43-31 victory

  • Belmont’s Keegan Martinez (55) and Anakin Underhill (24) converge on Winnisquam’s Anthony Boomer on Wednesday night. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL/ Monitor staff

  • Treshawn Ray (23) locks in on defense for Belmont against Winnisquam’s Ayden Cushing (2). ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL / Monitor staff

  • Winnisquam’s Anthony Boomer puts up a shot over the outstretched reach of Belmont’s Anakin Underhill on Wednesday night. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL / Monitor staff

  • Belmont’s Sam Reposa (3) dribbles by Winnisquam’s Caleb Robdau in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL / Monitor staff

  • Keegan Martinez prepares to put up a shot with Winnisquam’s Benjamin Rollins (5) and Anthony Boomer (3) surrounding him. ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/18/2023 10:39:15 PM
Modified: 1/18/2023 10:38:57 PM

BELMONT – Raiders head coach Tony Martinez didn’t think his team played its best when they lost to Winnisquam, 59-56 on Jan. 3. On Wednesday night, Belmont’s execution was noticeably sharper in the team’s 43-31 win in a defensive slog.

Belmont (7-2) led 16-7 at halftime, while Winnisquam (6-3) did not connect on a single 3-pointer in those first 16 minutes. The Raiders’ 2-3 zone welcomed the outside shots, but the Bears couldn’t get them to fall.

“They have really good length,” Winnisquam head coach Kevin Dame said of Belmont. “Against zones of length, you have to be able to shoot the basketball a little bit. We didn’t do that well. We didn’t shoot it with confidence.”

Defending with confidence was a primary focus for Martinez entering the matchup. It all started with freshman Treshawn Ray and senior Sam Reposa at the top of their zone.

“I thought they brought a lot of energy,” Martinez said. “In that zone, those top two guys are the hardest working guys on the floor, and I thought they really brought the energy up there. We’ve been really working on that.”

Everything was a little bit crisper for Belmont compared to that first matchup: rebounders boxed out better, closeouts were sharper, defenders’ hands were in up with more regularity.

Though the Raiders are now 7-2, Martinez still doesn’t think they’ve reached their peak form. However, Wednesday’s performance was certainly a step closer to getting there. The development of Ray as a freshman playing varsity basketball is a large reason.

“Each game, he’s getting more mature,” Martinez said of his guard, who can sometimes play with reckless abandon. “He’s starting to learn the pace of the game, and he’s starting to learn his spots.”

On the offensive side for the Raiders, it took them awhile to get going, but they wound up with three scorers in double figures: Ray had 13, sophomore Keegan Martinez had 12 and sophomore Anakin Underhill had 10. 

Martinez and Underhill – the twin towers down low for Belmont – were similarly strong defensively, rebounding and blocking shots.

Meanwhile, the Bears had to contend with size mismatches that they were able to overcome when these two teams met two weeks ago but couldn’t quite figure out on Wednesday. Winnisquam’s tallest player, Anthony Boomer, is 6-2; Belmont has six players that are 6-2 or taller.

Because of the smaller roster, Dame’s team relies more on gang rebounding – having all five players crash the boards. Against Belmont, that strategy wasn’t executed particularly well, in part because the pace of the game may have worn them down.

“Good teams, they’re gonna make you tired,” Dame said. “You gotta learn how to fight through that and still run even when you’re tired. They just did a better job of putting the ball in the basket and controlling the tempo that way.”

Even with the loss, the Bears are still well-positioned in the D-III standings with about half of their schedule still ahead. 

In a division that’s been highly competitive all season, a loss like Wednesday’s was nothing to get overly dramatic about.

“We didn’t lose to a bad team here,” Dame said. “We lost to a good team on their court less than two weeks after we beat them. I don’t know if that could’ve been any more motivation to them.”

Winnisquam’s next matchup will be on Friday at home against Raymond (1-6), while Belmont will play on the road against Campbell (7-3).


ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL is a sports reporter for the Monitor. He graduated from Northwestern University in June 2022 with a degree in journalism and spent his last two years as sports director for the campus radio station, WNUR, leading coverage for nine different sports. A New York native, he's a diehard Yankees and Giants fan much to the displeasure of most of the newsroom.

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