Boys’ basketball: Checking in on Belmont’s 5-2 start

  • Belmont’s Anakin Underhill (24) plays in the 43rd Annual Mike Lee Holiday Basketball Bash at Farmington High School against Profile on Dec. 30. D-III Belmont defeated D-IV Profile, 56-46, to claim the holiday tournament title. Underhill scored 19 points and was named the Tournament MVP. Courtesy of

  • Belmont’s Anakin Underhill (24) plays in the 43rd Annual Mike Lee Holiday Basketball Bash at Farmington High School against Profile on Dec. 30. D-III Belmont defeated D-IV Profile, 56-46, to claim the holiday tournament title. Underhill scored 19 points and was named the Tournament MVP. Courtesy of

  • Anakin Underhill hoists the championship while his teammates celebrate after the Belmont boys’ basketball team won the 43rd Annual Mike Lee Holiday Basketball Bash on Dec. 30 at Farmington High School. Underhill was named the Tournament MVP and scored 19 points as Belmont defeated Profile, 56-46, to win the championship. Courtesy of

  • Belmont’s Jamison Gaudette dribbles the ball up the court during the championship game of the 43rd Annual Mike Lee Holiday Basketball Bash at Farmington High School on Dec. 30. Gaudette’s leadership has been key to Belmont’s excellent start to the 2022-23 season. Courtesy of

Monitor staff
Published: 1/13/2023 1:08:52 AM

Tony Martinez couldn’t wait for his team’s rematch with Winnisquam on Thursday night. The Bears had just beaten the Raiders, 59-56 on Jan. 3, and Martinez knew Belmont was capable of better.

Now 5-2, Thursday’s game was postponed due to the bad weather, so the Raiders will have to wait a little longer to try to get revenge. Even still, it’s been a successful first season for Martinez as the Belmont head coach. Here are three keys to the team’s 5-2 start:

Good mix of senior leadership with younger talent

With eight seniors but just one junior and five underclassmen (four sophomores and a freshman), there’s a large age gap on this year’s roster. It might not seem like a huge deal, but it’s meant that the older and younger factions didn’t have much – if any – experience playing together. Usually that’s the case on a varsity roster, but only having one junior means the sophomores and freshman play vital roles.

Getting everyone to gel was one of the focuses for Martinez early in the season.

“With this year's team, I have a senior group that have played together since they were in grade school, and then I have a sophomore group that has played together for a long time,” he said. “I think the biggest thing was getting those two groups to come together as one, to really get them meshing as teammates and everything.”

One of the big reasons the team has meshed? Senior Jamison Gaudette.

“His leadership, handling the basketball when we need to, calming guys down, getting guys up, he’s been a solid contributor – he’s been the bridge between the gaps in the age of what I have on the team,” Martinez said. “He’s everything I want in a basketball player. He’s capable of scoring 20 points in a night, but he’d rather distribute the ball and get everybody else involved.”

The Raiders have built confidence showing they can compete against top teams in D-III

Though their most recent game was a 61-58 loss against defending champions Gilford, the Raiders sent themselves a message: We can do this.

Against one of the perennially good teams in the division, Belmont showed it could match them toe-to-toe.

“I truly was happy at the end of that game with the outcome,” Martinez said. “We didn’t shoot from the foul line well; we were 4-for-13. We missed a couple shots down the stretch. Knowing that we are right there with the defending champs in their place, it showed us internally that we're contenders.”

The game preceding that was the loss to Winnisquam which, like Belmont, is 5-2 on the season. Though that loss stung a bit more – Martinez thought his team was a bit overconfident coming off of a tournament title in the Mike Lee Holiday Basketball Bash – it was still a highly competitive game that gave the Raiders something to build on for the future.

“We had chances to pull that game out as bad as we played, and we just didn't connect,” Martinez said. “Like I told the guys, you always hear how people say you have to learn how to lose, well you have to learn how to win. We're still learning how to win. These games will help with that.”

Belmont has depth and size

In addition to the stability Gaudette’s brought to the roster, Martinez has also had several other players he’s been able to rely on throughout the season.

He highlighted 6-4 senior guard Sam Reposa as one of the best shooters in Division III and someone who’s started to step up his game defensively; sophomores Keegan Martinez (his son) and Anakin Underhill, two of the bigs at 6-5 and 6-6 respectively; senior Tylor Carroll who’s provided steady leadership despite fluctuating playing time; and freshman Treshawn Ray, someone with lots of speed and athleticism, who as Martinez described it, is learning how to play the game with “a mature perspective.”

Overall, though Martinez’s son leads the way in scoring, it’s a comprehensive effort every time out on the court.

“I have five guys on the floor that can score the basketball at any time,” Martinez said. “I’m not really big in superstars or anything like that.”

Even though he might be short on superstars, the Raiders surely have not been short on success in 2022-23.

After Thursday’s postponement, they will resume action on Tuesday at home against Newfound.


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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