From the get-go, the Marauders were ready. With the bleachers packed with students decked in maroon, the energy in the gym was almost tangible. After a disappointing outing in the playoffs last year where 12th seed Brighton upset the Marauders, this new young team of core players were hungry to make a statement, and hungry for a playoff win.
Against an offensively talented Chelsea team, throughout the entire game, Coach Adam Pritchard demanded that the team should run, run, and run; that is exactly what they did. To begin the game, sophomore point guard Danny Yardemian (#4) hit an open three, and the Marauders never looked back. Belmont would capitalize on offensive rebounds, as Tomas Donoyan scored a putback to put Belmont at a lead of 8-2 with 5:38 left in the first quarter. The rest of the first quarter was filled with transition baskets as each team failed to completely lock down on defense during fast-breaks. After trading baskets, the first quarter ended with Belmont leading 23-15.
The second quarter was filled with Belmont defensive stops as they successfully rebounded the ball and beat the zone defense back, pulling away with their biggest lead of the game at 11 points, 30-19, with 4:40 left in the half. Bad shot selection and Chelsea turnovers gave shooting guard Daron Hamparian opportunities to shoot, sinking two threes to increase the lead to 16 points, 37-21 with a minute left to go in the half. However, the Red Devils showcased a short 6-0 run of three transition baskets to put them back behind only 10 points.
To begin the second half, point guard Danny Yardemian hit another three, almost as if to say that the second half will be dominated by the Marauders exactly the same as it was during the first half. Sure enough, the Marauders kept the foot on the accelerator as Yardemian drove to the basket, scoring 2 baskets back to back. Chelsea’s inability to break Belmont’s full court press and zone defense in the third forced Coach Judah Jackson to call a timeout with 5:52 left in the game. However, Yardemian would strike yet again only 32 seconds after the timeout with an and-1 drive. Chelsea battled back, scoring on a couple of drives, but recently named Middlesex league all star captain Paul Ramsey’s (#55) and-1 with 59.4 sec left in the third sent a clear message to Chelsea that Belmont had yet to finish.
Belmont would close out the night in the fourth quarter, maintaining the same level of energy throughout. They would finish the game with a score of 71-59, with the team’s first playoff win. The level of energy and intensity at which Belmont played ousted the loose defense of the Red Devils, as Belmont consistently scored transition buckets throughout the game.
Yardemian remarked, “I think we did a good job breaking their zone defense and forcing them to shift back and forth, causing open shots and easy baskets.”