NEW HARTFORD – Taking care of the ball is vital if you’re going to beat the Whitesboro Warriors girls basketball team.
The New Hartford Spartans couldn’t as Whitesboro’s athleticism and length wreaked havoc in forcing 32 turnovers in helping the Warriors roll to a 65-44 victory in Tuesday’s Tri Valley League clash. Senior forward Allie Belmont scored a career-high 25 points and her twin sister Kate slashed for 17 as the Warriors remained unbeaten and proved they’re clearly one of the top teams in Section 3.
“I just try to take it to the basket and stay aggressive,” said Allie Belmont, who scored 10 points in the opening quarter as the Warriors jumped out early and never trailed their rival.
The Belmont sisters play with maximum effort every second they are on the court. Their ability to attack the basket and finish around the rim is what opponents will have to deal with this season.
“They’re relentless and fearless,” Whitesboro head coach Todd Scott said. “But, what I’m most proud of is that they’ve grown up. These girls have learned from past leaders and are now leading the team.”
The Warriors used an 11-0 run midway through the first quarter to race out to a 17-4 advantage.
The Spartans (3-2, 0-2) – who were led by Taylor Torchia’s 15 points and another impressive performance by seventh grader Kaia Henderson (12 points) – managed to stay in the game by closing with a 7-2 run to pull within 19-11 after the first quarter.
The Spartans kept in the game into the second half, but another decisive spurt by the Warriors blew the game open early in the third quarter as senior point guard Gianna Gotte opened the half with a 3-pointer and Allie Belmont followed with a conventional 3-point play to extend its advantage to 36-22. The Spartans responded with a 7-3 run and closed to within 39-29 on Torchia’s steal and layin with just less than three minutes remaining in the third.
But that was as close as the Spartans would get as another Gotte 3-pointer sparked a 16-2 run that gave the Warriors a 55-31 lead early in the fourth quarter. Gotte finished with seven points and junior shooting guard Petrina DeMarco had five for the Warriors, who host Rome Free Academy Friday night.
Abby Buchholz had seven points for the Spartans, who return to action next Tuesday night at RFA.
“They beat us from A to Z,” New Hartford head coach Mike Callan said. “We had at least 25 turnovers and were out of control. (Whitesboro) played well and were the better team.”
Callan hopes his team can find some consistency as the season progresses.
“We’ve played three very good games and two very poor ones,” Callan said. “We just need to be in control and need someone to take charge.”
Whitesboro has been one of the dominant teams in the section for several years. They won the Class A title in 2011 and have made it to four straight sectional finals (2013-16) before losing to Jamesville-Dewitt. Creating more havoc defensively and playing a more up-tempo game is a goal Scott and the Warriors hope to master before sectionals come around.
Tuesday night, the Warriors press and overall athleticism was tough for the Spartans to handle. Although they committed 33 turnovers themselves, Whitesboro head coach Todd Scott believes his team’s athleticism allows them to turn mistakes into buckets more than most teams they’ll face.
“In the past we’ve always played great half-court defense and slowed it down on offense,” said Scott, who is in his fourth season as head coach. “Now we’re trying to speed up the game and make teams keep us with us. I think this is the deepest team I’ve had and we are getting contributions from a lot of people.”
Both Belmont sisters have been part of the last two losses to J-D in the sectional finals, and like the changes the coaches have made this season.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our coaches,” Kate said. “I think we are more fast-paced this season and are able to score more and are better offensively. I think it gives us a better chance to finally beat J-D.”
“We still have a lot to work on,” Allie said. “I think we’ll get better and have people on the bench that are scoring and contributing … and that’ll make us better.”
Whitesboro 65, New Hartford 44
Whitesboro 19 11 18 17—65
New Hartford 11 11 9 13–44
Whitesboro (5-0, 2-0): Allie Belmont 11-3 25; Kate Belmont 6-5 17; Gianna Gotte 2-1 7; Petrina DeMarco 2-0 5; Giavanna Delahunt 1-1 3; Sarah Hovey 1-0 3; Hannah Scott 1-0 2; Kiley Snow 0-2 2, Kelsey Wands 0-1 1. Totals: 24-13-65. 3-pointers: 4 (Gotte 2, DeMarco, Hovey).
New Hartford (3-2, 0-2): Taylor Torchia 4-4 15; Kaia Henderson 2-8 12; Abby Buchholz 2-3 7; Gabby Hobika 1-0 2; Francesca Laino 1-0 2; Kristen Sellars 0-2 2; Kameron Karwowski 1-0 2. Abby Hall 1-0 2. Totals: 12-17-44. 3-pointers: 3 (Torchia 3).
JV: New Hartford won 45-37.
Nick Sardina is a writer for midyorksportsreport.com. Follow Nick onTwitter @nsardinamysr or on Facebook. Contact him via email at