For Belle Smith, the accolades she’s garnered across her athletic career have as much to do with her teammates as they do with her.
Last year, the senior broke Lauren Mallor’s 1,273 point total to become the highest-scoring girls basketball player in Westhampton Beach history. With a layup off her own steal, 16 seconds into the second quarter of a 61-51 win at Elwood-John Glenn January 12, she added to that record by scoring her 1500th career point. Smith finished the game with a double-double on 17 points and 10 rebounds, and had three steals and three assists. She said she didn’t even know her bucket off a breakaway opportunity had been the milestone-maker. She’d even just found out prior to the game she was five points away from history.
“To break your own record is pretty cool, but the team comes first,” Smith said. “And I couldn’t have done it without them. They’re always so supportive, and none of my points would’ve been possible without their help. So, this recognition isn’t just for me, it’s for my whole team. We all make each other look good.”
Senior Layla Mendoza, who worked with Smith under the boards all evening and racked up a team-high 20 points in the win, said she couldn’t be happier for her teammate.
“I love her so much,” Mendoza said. “We both have a ton of athleticism. We just click.”
Smith started playing for head coach Katie Peters in eighth grade. The coach said back then Smith was a phenomenal All-American lacrosse player — who won a national championship with Team USA last summer and surpassed 2000 digs this past season as a libero on the volleyball team — who happened to play basketball.
“At this point, she’s a basketball player who also happens to be an All-American lacrosse player,” Peters said, smiling. “Her milestones are phenomenal. She’s a competitor. She refuses to lose. Every night she gives all her effort. I couldn’t say enough positive and great things about her as a student, as an athlete, as a human being. She’s a really special kid.”
Her mother Jen Smith said she knew from a young age her daughter had it in her.
“She always seems to rise to the occasion,” Smith said. “Put aside that I’m her mom, my husband and I look at her and are just in awe of her athletic abilities and the way that she conducts herself. Most people would say when you see Belle, and you talk to her, you wouldn’t know she has such athletic prowess. She’s kind, she’s giving, she’s a team player.”