TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsHigh SchoolGirls Basketball

Bellport's Arella Guirantes closes in on 2,000 points after another 40-point game

Bellport guard Arella Guirantes drives the outside against

Bellport guard Arella Guirantes drives the outside against Hauppauge guard Kaitlin Cronin in a game Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 at Bellport. Credit: George A. Faella

Remember that time Arella Guirantes scored 48 points?

The appropriate response to that question is, "Which time?"

Guirantes has scored at least 40 points in a game nine times in her career, the latest being a 47-point, 23-rebound performance in a 67-47 win over visiting Hauppauge on Thursday. It was one point shy of her career high of 48, which she has done twice.

The Bellport senior is only 16 points away from becoming the 18th girl in Long Island history to reach 2,000 career points, according to Newsday records.

"All of the shots I've taken in practice and all of the hours I've put in at the gym have paid off," said Guirantes, a 5-10 shooting guard in her sixth season on varsity. "It's going to make me feel good that I did something that most people haven't done."

Guirantes, who is averaging 34.4 points a game, is on pace to lead New York in scoring for the second straight season. As a junior, she averaged 33.6 points, which was seventh best in the country. And she has done it all while being triple-teamed on a nightly basis.

"The points aren't what drives her," Bellport coach Rodney O'Neal said. "It's her will to be the best."

Remember that time Arella Guirantes had the flu?

She had added new dimensions to her game as a sophomore and began to come into her own.

"I realized what I could do in freshman year," said Guirantes, who increased her average from 17.7 points as a freshman to 24.1 as a sophomore. "I wanted to take it as far as I could."

She began to dominate in the post, attack the rim and shoot deep three-pointers. But during halftime of Bellport's playoff game against Northport that season, she was in the bathroom throwing up.

"I asked her if she was going to be able to play," O'Neal recalled. "She said, 'I'm not going to let this hold me back.' "

The defense couldn't hold her back either. She scored 36 points, grabbed 24 rebounds and led the Clippers to a 59-53 upset for their first playoff victory since 2001.

"She played with the flu," O'Neal said, "and she was lights out."

Remember that time Arella Guirantes had a quadruple-double?

With her ability to establish position while fighting for rebounds, her vision to find an open teammate while getting double-teamed and her timing while blocking an opponent's shot, Guirantes has recorded six triple-doubles in her career.

No game better showcased her all-around versatility than her performance against Hauppauge last season: 32 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocks.

"I do whatever needs to be done. I can get my shot off at any time and I take what the defense gives me," she said before laughing. "The defense doesn't really give me a lot, though."

Remember that time Arella Guirantes called that team meeting?

Some of Guirantes' teammates were asked to describe the most amazing thing they've seen her do.

Dynasia Simmons recalled the time that Guirantes hit deep threes on consecutive possessions. "Defenders back off because they don't think she'll shoot, and then they're all shocked," she said.

Jasmine Seaton said it was those 48-point games. "There's just not much defenses can do," she said.

Jenna Piro was less specific. "Everything she does is amazing, basically," she said.

For Hailey Wagner, it was the team meeting Guirantes held after Bellport's first loss of the season in December.

"She sat the team down and made everyone say their goals for the season," she said. "She's a great leader."

Remember that time Arella Guirantes turned the Bellport program around?

She could have transferred into a more storied basketball program but didn't. "I want to win a championship at Bellport," said Guirantes, whose father played basketball for Bellport and mother played for Center Moriches and Stony Brook University. "Maybe people will call me crazy for thinking that."

She'll lead Bellport to the playoffs again this season before heading to college. She said she has received many Division I offers but is planning to attend prep school for a year.

"Many colleges recruited me but I don't feel like I fit with them right now," she said. "I want to get fundamentally sound and more mature."

There still are games to play and milestones to reach. Of all the points Guirantes has scored in her career, she was asked which were the most memorable.

"There have been a lot," she said. "But I guess the game-winner in overtime against Kings Park last year."

Remember that?

More high schools