Friday, January 19, 2018

Dominic Black Sends Arlington to the Top of the Middlesex League Liberty Division

By Matt Feld (@mattyfeld612)

Arlington, Mass. - Dominic Black made sure that Arlington left little doubt.

Led by Black’s 12 points and 16 rebounds, the Spy Ponders defeated Belmont, 60-51, on Friday night in a Middlesex Liberty Division clash at Arlington High School.

Black racked up eight rebounds in each half, including four offensive. The sophomore then turned those four offensive rebounds into six second chance points.

“Dominic Black is probably the best player in the state nobody is talking about,” said Arlington head coach John Bowler. “He does it all. He guards the other team’s best player, he can rebound, and he can score. Just an incredible player.”

The highly anticipated showdown looked to be a tossup at the half, with the two sides playing to a 28-28 tie.

Four minutes into the third quarter, the Spy Ponders (8-1, 7-0) had taken complete control going on a 18-2 run to create separation.

James Gascoigne (15 points, 9 rebounds) got the spurt started for the Spy Ponders with consecutive layups, and Black followed up by corralling a pair of offensive rebounds and putting them back in to give Arlington a 36-30 lead.

Defensively the Spy Ponders turned to their full court pressure and doubled Marauders’ star guard Danny Yardemian off the ball.

Denying Yardemian paid dividends as Arlington used its length and athleticism to deflect passes and get out in transition.

Once out on the break Arlington proved nearly impossible to stop as Gascoigne scored four straight points in transition to increase Arlington’s lead up to 10.

Sophomore star Bensley Joseph then put an exclamation point on the offensive avalanche as he scored six straight points to give the Spy Ponders a comfortable 46-30 lead.

“We wanted to play at a much quicker tempo,” said Bowler. “When we play up-tempo we are pretty successful at it. We wanted to pressure them and make it difficult for them to bring the ball up the court. It got them uncomfortable and forced them into a pace they are not usually playing in.”

The Marauders settled down following a timeout and slowly clawed their way back into the game.

A floater by Yardemian pulled Belmont within 10 early in the fourth quarter but Arlington answered.

Gascoigne finished down low before Nicholas Karalis beat Belmont down the floor for two to put the Spy Ponders back up 52-38 midway through the fourth.

Belmont made one final push as a Mac Annus triple and a Will Ellet three-point play highlighted an 11-3 run that pulled the Marauders within 55-49 with less than two minutes left.

Black, however, picked up two huge offensive rebounds before Joseph sealed it at the free throw line to keep Arlington perfect in league play.

“It’s great to be 7-0 in the league,” said Bowler. “Winning the league title is one of our main goals. We have a makeup game versus Woburn on Sunday so that’s another great test for us.”

The Marauders jumped out ahead early as five points from Yardemian gave Belmont a 15-12 lead after one.

An Ellet basket increased Belmont’s advantage up to four midway through the second quarter, but Arlington showed signs of turning the tide before the end of the half.

Karalis and Joey Pazzia drove to the basket for layups, and Joseph scored four points in the frame’s closing seconds to even the score at 28 at the intermission.

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