Heading into this week’s AAA senior girls city league basketball play, the Belmont Bulldogs had reeled off seven straight wins. That included three in a row at their own tournament last weekend, the Bill Spotswood Memorial.
Lopsided victories over Surrey’s Semiahmoo Totems (74-49) and North Surrey Spartans (60-40), and a narrow 49-47 win over local rival Mount Doug gave the Bulldogs the title.
While the most meaningful games of the season are yet to be played, head coach Brad Lidstone is seeing some bright spots in his team’s play.
“Finding roles for everyone and having everyone take on those roles and play them well has made us successful,” he said. “Whether that’s coming off the bench to generate some steals, giving us key rebounds or playing shutdown defence, we couldn’t be having the success we’re having right now without everyone doing their job to the best of their ability.”
The Bulldogs were slated to wrap up the city league regular season with a rematch against Mount Doug yesterday (Jan. 27, after Gazette deadline).
Isla Swanwick led the attack against Semiahmoo with 20 points, followed by Hannah Allen with 18. Guard Alysha Walton was a frequent distributor during the game, sending many passes into the paint that were converted into baskets.
Game 2 against Mount Doug was a roller-coaster ride with many lead changes. The Rams jumped out to a 14-4 lead early on, but the Bulldogs battled back to lead by one at halftime.
Belmont grabbed a healthy lead in the third quarter, but Mount Doug got back into the game with some accurate outside shooting in the fourth that led to a thrilling finish.
Trailing by two with seven seconds left, the Rams threw an inbound pass into three-point shooting range. Belmont guard Frelen Gorst, who played high-energy defence all game along with Miranda Llewellyn, contested the shot and it failed to go in. Jess Thomsen scored 18 and pulled down 19 rebounds, while Hannah Allen scored 10 and added 12 boards in the win.
Lidstone said that game, and the others, saw the Bulldogs put their size to good use in the paint. “Our post players were tremendous. Jess, Hannah and Savonah (MacLeod-Vesillin) played well inside.”
That win, he added, was a good illustration of the progress the team has made.
“Early on in the season we had some close games that we didn’t win, some three-point losses,” he said. “So at the end of the season, it shows the strides we’ve made as a team.”
The tourney title clinching win saw Swanwick lead the way again with 22 points, with Madison Bullen playing a solid game at both ends of the floor, especially in the rebounding department.
Following this week’s game against Mount Doug, the Bulldogs take a break for exams, then get back at it the second week of February in the city league playoffs.