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Spirit, scoring capability characterize Belmont's proficiency

What is it like to make a slam dunk in a crowd-filled gym? Not many of us know or will ever know, but FC boys’ basketball captain Cooper Belmont, ’12, standing at 6’0, knows exactly what this feeling is like.

Belmont’s two older brothers, Casey, ’02, and Carson, ’05, played multiple sports in high school and graduated from FC. As the youngest influenced by his siblings, Belmont started playing at a young age.

“I had always played in my driveway and at recess with my friends and I loved it,” Belmont said. “Plus, I would watch it on TV because my older brothers would watch it so that made me want to go and play on an actual team.”

One of the aspects about basketball that caught and held Belmont’s attention is the fast pace of the game.

“Once I played in an organized and competitive league I really fell in love with the game,” Belmont said. “The constant running, jumping up and down the court and just the intensity is what I love.”

As Belmont continued to play and has finally reached his senior year, he says he only has two goals for this season.

“Individually, the only goal I really have is to play in the City County All Star Game at the end of the season because I’ve never played in it and it could be real fun,” Belmont said. “Our main goal, I think, is ultimately to win another Valley championship and then contend in the state playoffs. But one goal that we want to achieve almost as much as Valley is winning our league title because it is something that we didn’t do last year.”

Last season, the Eagles went all the way to the CIF Central Section Division V Valley Championship game against Tranquillity and beat them 74-53. Belmont says this was one of the highlights from his season and shows that all hard work can pay off.

“Winning games and Valley championships are worth the hard work alone,” Belmont said. “On top of that, seeing all of your friends and family in the stands coming to watch and support you is an amazing feeling. Winning an intense Valley championship game in front of a lot of people is the best part though; there’s nothing like it.”

Head coach Josh Justin has known Belmont from when he was in junior high, and says that he has seen Belmont evolve as a player and come in to his own during this time.

“He is a dynamic player who loves to run and score in transition,” Justin said. “Cooper is a pure shooter who can hit a shot from anywhere on the court as over the years I’ve seen Cooper perfect his shot. He has also increased his speed which has significantly increased his transition game.”

What also encourages Belmont for this season is the fact that the five starters from last year are returning.

“Because our team has all five starters from last year returning, it makes me even that more excited about the season,” Belmont said. “It definitely helps me to be more confident going into the season because I know what we are capable of.”

One of those starters is guard Chandler Vargas, ’12, who has played with Belmont since the eighth grade.

“Once we played together [the first time], we immediately had a keen sense of where each other were on the court even without looking at each other,” Vargas said. “Playing on his team gives me so much confidence in his ability to explode past defenders and pull up for a shot nearly anywhere on the court. He’s also still a great team leader in his positive attitude, aggressive work ethic, but also in his humble personality.”

Despite this “aggressive work ethic,” Belmont still has passions off the court he enjoys to fill in his free time, which is music. Although he has never taken a music lesson, he plays the drums and a little bit of piano.

“Besides spending time with friends and family, like when I’m on my own, I love listening to music and making music,” Belmont said. “I don’t really take it that seriously, but I love just messing around with it and being around it. Later on after high school, I hope to pursue it some how in some way.”

Last season, Belmont led the team averaging 18.6 points a game with 75 three-pointers made total. He says he potentially has the talent to play in college and hopes to be able to follow that dream.

“I’m hoping to play in college somewhere, like a city college,” Belmont said. “I just really love the game and the past couple year’s I’ve been really passionate about it and I’ve worked hard at it and succeeded. So I want to pursue it, take advantage of it and try it out at least and see if I like it.”

One thing Belmont says he puts first is his faith in God. If you look closely in a game, you can see I Corinthians 10:31 written on his shoe, which Belmont says is the reason why he plays.

“I play for the Lord; God gave me the ability, talent and desire to play the game of basketball so there’s no reason why I should play for anyone else,” Belmont said. “I remind myself before and after the game who I play for, so every year I write I Corinthians 10:31 on my basketball shoes as a reminder.”

So, to answer the question: What is it like to dunk?

“It just feels really good to dunk,” Belmont said. “It just makes the game that much fun when you can get up there and throw one down. It definitely adds some finesse to your game.”

The Eagles will next play Liberty in the Liberty Hawk Classic tournament, Dec. 16. For more information on boys’ basketball, read the Dec. 12 article, Boys’ basketball sport shorts: Immanuel Tournament (Day Four). For more information on FCS sports, visit the Fresno Christian Athletics web page.

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  • L

    Laura CasugaJan 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

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    Brooke StobbeJan 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

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    Tyler LairdJan 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Creative shirt, Brady! Kudos to whoever came up with the idea.