Sewickley Academy athlete of the week: Max Belt

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 | 5:51 PM

Max Belt

School: Sewickley Academy

Sport: Basketball

Class: Sophomore

Claim to fame: Max and Donald Belt might have a sibling rivalry in their one-on-one battles, but it only reinforces their brotherly love.

Max credited Donald with helping him develop into a regular contributor to Sewickley Academy’s basketball team. Belt’s role recently expanded and he scored 13 points in a 78-54 win against Burgettstown.

You hit a career-high six shots from the field. Why were you in a good rhythm?

My teammates helped me get a lot of points by driving to the hoop and kicking the ball out. That’s how our offense is based. Isiah (Warfield) is a really great player, so his driving opens up opportunities for teammates like me to score. It was a really fun game for us.

How has your role on the team expanded this season?

I’ve had an increased role on the team, especially since Nate Ridgeway is gone. Coach is expecting a lot of things from me now, so I’ve gotta score more and produce more for my team. I feel like I’m ready to accept that role, which is more of a dribbling, kicking and penetrating role.

Your brother Donald is a senior. What’s it like to play with him?

I love playing with Donald. We’ll look back at playing together one day, and we’ll have a lot of great memories. He’s a great player, and he’s always encouraging. I love it.

What is something that Donald is really good at that you want to develop?

He’s really good at spot-up shooting, especially in big games like against OLSH. He had a huge game, and even though we lost he was key in keeping us close in the game. If I can learn to spot-up shoot like he can, I feel like I can be a really good player in the future.

How competitive do you get with each other?

Oh, we’re always really competitive. Whenever we’re playing one-on-one, we’re always push each other to work harder and harder. It’s great having a brother, especially an older one, because it makes you better.

The team has faced adversity this season with a three-game losing streak. What did you learn from that stretch to make you a better team?

I think we learned that we don’t need to rely so much on one or two players. If we’re playing hard as a team and hustle and maintain our toughness, we can out-effort teams and keep getting wins.

Why do you feel this team can make a strong playoff run?

I feel like we have a special connection. We all trust each other a lot. I’m good friends with everyone, so it’s a great experience.

You’re a three-sport athlete. What do you love the most?

I for sure love basketball the most. I’ve played it my whole life. Our assistant coach Al has trained me since fourth grade, so I’ve loved it since I was a kid.

Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer.