NEWTON — A 15-1 first quarter push keyed by a tenacious effort from senior guard Veronica Burton and the top-ranked Newton South girls’ basketball proved just enough to capture the Garden City Classic title with a 44-35 win over Belmont on Thursday night.
After fifth-ranked Belmont gained a quick two-possession lead, Burton and the Lions roared to a commanding advantage.
“Newton South is a handful,” said Belmont coach Melissa Hart. “I think unfortunately we got in a bit of a hole and it’s hard to come back against a team like that.”
South broke the Marauder zone press with ease as Burton contributed to eight of South’s first 10 points by scoring six of her own and assisting on another. She finished with 21.
“We did well in terms of staying in the game and not giving up,” Burton said. “We stayed positive.”
“She does everything for us and she makes everything for us go because of how unselfish she is,” Newton South coach Joe Rogers said of Burton.
Belmont junior Jane Mahon opened the second quarter by scoring on a nifty feed from senior Carly Christofori (7 points) to keep the Marauders competitive.
Right when Belmont (4-1) looked to change the game’s momentum, Burton and company stepped on the gas. She added a steal, five points and two blocks to keep the Lions ahead.
A pair of treys from junior Frankie Silva helped Newton South (6-0) to another dominant run 11-1 run for a 26-13 halftime advantage.
“Everyone steps up and does what they need to do,” Burton said. “I feed off of them just as much as they feed off of me.”
After trading buckets for the majority of the second half, Christofori helped the Marauders creep back to within 5 with just over three minutes left.
South extended the lead back to double digits to stave off the Belmont comeback.
“We hadn’t had to be resilient before today, it’s something we talked about beforehand,” Rogers said.
“The way we were able to respond then was even more important than our earlier runs.”Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.