Belmont Savings Announces Free Screening of ‘Black Panther’ for Belmont High Students

Photo: Black Panther poster art.

Belmont Savings Bank today announced it will be sponsoring a free screening of Marvel Studio’s Black Panther on Friday, March 9 at 8 p.m. at the historic Capitol Theatre in Arlington for Belmont High School students. Following the movie, there will be a student-led panel discussion on race relations.

“Black Panther is an inspiring film, and we look forward to the important conversations it will generate following the screening,” said Bob Mahoney, president, and CEO of Belmont Savings Bank. “Cultural dialogues on diversity and inclusion are essential to our community fabric, which is why we approached the school with this idea.”

“We are so thrilled to be partnering with Belmont Savings Bank on this unique and exciting opportunity to our student body,” said Daniel Richards, principal at Belmont High School. “Once again, the bank continues to support the Belmont community through ingenuity, implementation and a generosity to fund local events. It is a pleasure to be collaborating with them on this screening and student panel.”

Directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station), Black Panther is the first superhero blockbuster to center fully on a black cast. Since its release, hundreds of grass-roots campaigns have sprouted up in communities worldwide, focused on screening the film for disadvantaged children. 

The Capitol Theater was built in 1925 by the Locatelli family, and is one of the area’s finest early motion picture theaters. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

After Dominating Wins, Belmont Boys’, Girls’ Hoops Meet Woburn In Semis Doubleheader

Photo: Jake Pollack under the basket vs. Melrose.

The Belmont High Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams are off to their North Sectional semifinals against Middlesex League rivals Woburn High on Thursday, March 8 after the both Marauder squads dominated their quarterfinals over the past weekend.

The doubleheader – the girls’ play at 5:30 p.m. and the boys’ at 7:30 p.m. at Burlington High School – was pushed back a day due to Wednesday’s pending Nor’easter. 

Tan’s career night leads Girls over last year’s champs Andover Saturday.

Just a little bit of self-confidence went a long way for Marauders’ junior guard Megan Tan on Saturday, March 3, against defending Division 1 North titleholders Andover High as Tan scored a career-high 27 points including three from beyond the arc as Belmont eased past the Golden Eagles, 68-46, in the Division 1 North sectional quarterfinals played in Belmont.

One would think that a three-year starter and mainstay of Belmont’s smothering defense would be at ease on the court. But Tan said this season she’s been struggling with mostly her shot selection.

“Throughout the year I’ve kinda struggled with my confidence. [Belmont Head] Coach (Melissa) Hart and I talked about it a lot. So today I had my head in the game,” said Tan after the game.

“I was playing like I wanted to play tonight and it worked out,” said Tan, who also contributed two assists and three steals for baskets resulting in six points.

But from Hart’s view, the victory was achieved by more than just giving the ball to Tan and watching her score.

“Everyone played really well. It wasn’t one of those one player games. It was a team win,” said Hart

Tan (a layup and the first of her threes) and Belmont got off to a quick start, up 7-0. Andover came back behind junior guard Gia Bramanti (6 in the quarter, 12 for the game), who at 6 feet towers over Tan who was covering her on defense, with the first quarter ending with the Marauders up two, 15-13 with Tan collecting 9 points in the stanza.

Up 18-16 early in the second, Belmont began grinding the game out, play by play, starting off with a trey from senior Jenny Call (6 points), the team’s career leader in threes. Junior Jane Mahon (6 points), Belmont’s sixth man, hit her trademark short jumper followed by workhorse senior forward Greta Propp’s layup (2 of her 10 points), Mahon again scoring in close with senior point guard Carly Christofori (6 points and a team-leading 6 rebounds) spinning in for two of her six points and suddenly Belmont was up 1o, 29-19, with 2:40 left in the half.

On the other end of the court, junior center Jess Giorgio (9 points) blocked a Bramanti runner while the team’s pressing pressure caused a traveling call on Andover on the next possession.

“Our defense frustrated them, and that was the real difference,” said Hart. Tan’s second three would give her 15 while the defense held the Golden Eagles to six in the quarter as the Marauders led at the break 34-19.

Belmont continued pressing its advantage in the second half as it steadily opened up an ever-increasing lead. The final quarter resembled a rec league game as the defense took a seat on the sidelines. 

As for meeting co-Middlesex League champs Woburn (19-2) for the third time this season – each team winning at home – “it will be a game of wills,” said Hart.

“It’s kind of nice to play them again because one of us can put this debate to rest. Hopefully, it’s us,” said Hart.

Slow start, fast finish as Boys’ dismantle Melrose

Trailing 11-0 to Middlesex League-rivals Melrose High after the first three minutes was not how Belmont High’s Head Coach Adam Pritchard was expecting from his team which just dismantled Charlestown High, 72-47, on Feb. 27. 

The Raiders arrived at the Wenner Field House looking for its second big playoff win after upsetting five-seed Masconomet earlier in the week and came out against the Marauders’ going right at the basket while deploying a 2-3 zone that cramped Belmont’s offense. 

But for Pritchard, the optimum word during the Raiders’ early run wasn’t “panic” but “patience.” 

“It was scary. They were really prepared to play, and we had to change things defensively to get it going. We took some chances, and it worked out,” said the longtime coach as his team proved their standing as the fourth seed by dispatching Melrose, 72-52, on Sunday night before the Academy Awards. 

A driving hoop by junior all-star Danny Yardemian put Belmont onto the scoreboard and senior forward Will Ellet first of five threes cut the lead to 11-5. 

While Yardemian and Ellet (each finishing with 17 points) were taking their game outside, the dirty work under the basket was assigned to senior center Jake Pollack that once again was looking up to a taller opposite center. Pollack’s presence came with a pair of offensive rebounds and a putback basket to tie the score at 13 with less than a minute remaining in the first. The quarter ended with Yardemian acting as a teacher, schooling the Melrose defender with a step back jumper to give Belmont its first lead of the game, 15-13. 

“We were resilient in the first quarter. A lot of teams can go down and get it into their heads. But we kept on going. We wouldn’t let the score take us from our game,” said Pritchard.

The second quarter was a back and forth affair knotted up at 20 with 4 minutes remaining as Belmont freshman Tim Minicozzi scored 5 of his 7 game points subbing for Yardemian who picked up his second foul early. Melrose took its final lead at 22-20 at 3:24 but it would be the Raiders’ highwater mark as Belmont’s pressure defense created a 10-second half court violation followed by yet another Ellet trey. As an explanation point, Ellet hustled down court to administer a monster block on an attempted layup which resulted in a 30-second violation.

With two minutes left in the quarter, Ellet’s fourth three of the half preceded Yardemian’s own three before the point guard spotted Pollack under the basket for a pair. Junior Ben Sseruwagi’s up and in (2 of his 8 points) and a Pollack block and rebound preserved a Marauders lead at the half, 33-26.

The third quarter is where the cream rose to the top as Belmont’s team defense and talent blew the game open as the Marauders outscored the Raiders’ 31-8 with Pollack battling for five of this 10 points before leaving the game due to a “turned ankle,” according to Pritchard.

“I had to hustle on both sides of the ball, get a defensive rebound than sprint down court and get an offensive rebound and put back. Every time, just outwork the other big guys,” said Pollack. 

By the fourth, both teams gave their reserves an opportunity to grab a few playoff minutes with Belmont using every one they could find on the bench.

For the second game running, Pritchard praised Pollack’s battling nature on the boards.

“We play a smaller lineup, and we have a kid who is going after rebounds, blocking shots and pressuring full court. He’s a special athlete. That motor is something,” Pritchard said.

Woburn (15-7) is a familiar opponent for Belmont (17-5) having beaten the Tanners both times they faced them this season. 

“I love [the Woburn coaching staff],” said Pritchard. “The coach is a good friend of mine, and the kids on both teams are very familiar with each other so it should be a heck of a game. It should be fun.” 

Religious Council’s Youth Mission Helps Rebuild Homes in Houston

Photo: Teens from the Belmont Religious Council’s Youth Mission at a Houston pre-school.
(Editor’s note: The article below was submitted by Doug John of the Belmont Religious Council, an interfaith council for the town.)
On Sunday, Feb. 18, a group of 28 teenagers and advisors from different religious faiths in Belmont left snowy New England to head to Houston, Texas, to help build houses damaged by Hurricane Harvey as part of the Belmont Religious Council’s on-going Youth Mission trips.
In Houston, we were housed in shipping containers converted into bunkhouses, in the parking lot of a Lutheran church. The living quarters were very tight, with 8 to 10 people crammed into each bunkroom. The Lutheran church provided food and a common meeting space.
Each day we were off to our worksites by 7:30 p.m. We took out walls, windows, ceilings and floor tiles. We put in new windows, plasterboard walls, and ceiling support beams. Everyone worked hard and was pretty dirty and exhausted by the end of the day. Each evening participants of a different religious faith made presentations about their religious practices.  Then we had circle time, where everyone shared thoughts about their day, as well as shout-outs praising different people in our group. There was a lot of singing and laughing and a little crying. 
Besides working hard, one afternoon we toured the Johnson Space Center and got to see the original mission control center as well as the actual last Saturn rocket and workspaces for future space exploration. Two afternoons after work, we went to a preschool where we read books and played with the kids. After work was done on Friday, we headed to Galveston to enjoy some time on the beach; the water was surprisingly warm for February.
The teenagers were, Heather Sorenson, Will Thomas, Abbie and Tyler Hafen, Barbara and Eddy Joseph, Ethan Andersen, Luke Jackson, Millie Sundahl, Grace Christensen, Andrew Choy, Harry Thidemann, Brad Harvey, Jake Parsons, David Ellison, Sam Harris, Ben Crocker, Eli Sseruwagi, and Mason Apke. There adult chaperones on the trip were David and Anne-Sophi Dankens, Daniel Adam, Dan Cherneff, Arianne Frank, Pastor Eric Wefald, Bret Sorenson, and Tina and Doug John. 
We got a lot of work done, made a difference in a couple of Houston families’ lives, made new friends, and had a good time. Next trip will be in 2020, and we highly recommend going.

WOW! Belmont Stun #1 Arlington, 3-2, In Div. 1 North Quarters As Dacey Stands Tall

Photo: The final scrum as Belmont’s Kevin Dacey saves with 9.1 seconds remaining to secure the 3-2 win over Arlington.

Belmont High Boys’ Hockey head coach Fred Allard looked bewildered, nearly speechless coming out of the locker room after addressing his team after Belmont stunned number 1-seed Arlington, 3-2, before a raucous Belmont’s traveling supporters in a standing-room-only O’Brien Rink in Woburn on Saturday, March 3.

“We call it our ‘Redemption Tour’ this year as we play teams we lost to a lot,” he said. “We have seniors who lost 9-0, 8-0 to Arlington early in their careers. To come back and win, amazing. I’m happy to be the coach of Belmont and just proud to coach this team.” 

Saturday’s game was 43 minutes of grind it out hockey and two minutes of a wild roller coaster of emotions as Belmont seemingly blew its best chance against the state favorites by giving up a tying goal with at 1:53 left only to be rescued by “Mr. March” sophomore Justin Roche’s wraparound at 23.5 seconds. The Marauders seemingly lost the lead for the second time with less than 10 seconds remaining but for a miraculous save by game MVP senior goalie Kevin Dacey and a correct call by the refs.

When the final horn blared, the team skated to where the Belmont supporters were located and despite three inches of tempered hockey panels, celebrated with fans, friends, and family.

For Dacey, the game was four years in the making.

“This was definitely a personal game for me. As a freshman I was pulled in my very first game against Arlington so ever since then I’ve wanted to get them back and I’m just so happy it happened.” 

Belmont lost away to Arlington, 4-1, in January that included a major dust-up that saw Dacey and Belmont’s leading scorer Steve Rizzuto bounced from the game. There was an equally nasty affair in Belmont in February that saw the Marauders on the wrong end of a 2-0 loss that included an empty-netter. 

“We lost twice but they were really a bouncing puck either way that could have changed it. We knew we could play with them,” said Dacey.

“He’s been the backbone of our team since his sophomore year. He’s kept us in most games and certainly kept us in this one. He’s one of the top goalies in the state and he’s got a heart of steel,” said Allard of his goaltender.

Belmont came out skating against Arlington and its aggressive play paid off twice as the Marauders took advantage of a pair of SpyPonder miscues. Belmont took a 1-0 lead in the first period when an errant pass during an Arlington line change was picked up by senior forward Ryan Noone leading to senior captain Dennis Crowley beating the SpyPonder’s goalie Jack Pinard five-hole with 3:59 left in the period.

Belmont’s doubled its lead in the second period courtesy of a bad defensive decision seconds after the puck dropped when outstanding freshman forward Ben Fici scored his ninth of the season from out in front at 10 seconds, assist from senior Alec Morin and that man Rocha.

For the remainder of the game, the storyline was if Belmont could hold on against the defending Super 8 champs with its high-powered offense. For most of the second period, Belmont’s defense kept Arlington to long-range shots that Dacey smothered with general ease.

In the third period, Arlington used its speed and strength to creep back into the match. It capitalized on a Belmont penalty, scoring early in the period (with 13:27 remaining) by junior defense Dara Conneely. Belmont stalling offense and Arlington’s ability to stay in the Marauders’ zone and continually squeeze the Belmont’s defense into Dacey silence the normally boisterous supporters. 

The seeming inevitable came as Arlington threw four players into the slot and senior wing Mike Callahan jumped on a loose puck seven feet from the goal and powered it between Dacey’s pads to tie it at 2 with 1:53 left in the period.

With overtime looming and Arlington controlling the game, it appeared Belmont was running on borrowed time against the energized SpyPonders.

But for Allard, the mood on the bench was resilient as the team recalled its first playoff game a few day back coming back from behind four times to defeat Melrose in the final minute. “These boys have responded every step of the way and I knew when [Arlington scored] we’d grind it out and find a way to win.”

Enter Rocha. On the second of two faceoffs in Arlington’s end, the sophomore took a Noone pass to the net and completed a classic wraparound by Pinard’s outstretched pads.

“I don’t even know what happened. I just got the puck down low in the slot and put it right around the goalie,” said Rocha who scored consecutive playoff winning goals. “It was all about wearing down the defense by keeping the puck down low. We just wore them down.” 

“We talk about ‘dirty’ goals, simply get it to the net and put home the rebound. Four of our five goals against Melrose was just that. And Rocha’s was just that way,” said Allard.

But Arlington provided one last heart-stopping moment when a near-perfect pass from the right circle met a pair of SpyPonders at the left corner of the net with 9.1 seconds remaining. But Dacey dove across the mouth of the goal to barely keep the puck from crossing the line. 

“It was just desperation. I just threw my stick out there and I just pulled it off the goal line,” said Dacey. As Arlington attempted to continue the play, the referee behind the net apparently blew the play dead to the bafflement of Arlington’s players who let their emotion get the best of them.

While pointing to Belmont’s playoff loss to St. John’s Prep in last year’s tourney as the “tipping point” in the resurgence of the program, Allard said the Arlington game is equally as important to the future of the sport.

“All you have to do is look at all the Belmont people who came out today and you realize that hockey in Belmont unlike a lot of things has returned. There is a history and a camaraderie and a level of success we haven’t had in a number of years so this is special. This will mean a lot for years to come,” said Allard. 

Brown Bag Talk: How Marijuana Regs Will Impact Belmont

Photo: Sale of marijuana begins 

The League of Women Voters in Belmont is holding a Brown Bag discussion on local marijuana regulations with members of the Belmont Board of Health and Planning Board on Friday, March 9, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission released draft regulations and has concluded hearings and discussions on these regulations. They are due to release final State Regulations by March 15. Licensing for facilities starts April 1 and retail businesses can open in communities that allow the sale of pot on July 1 with Belmont delaying openings until Dec. 31. How will this affect Belmont?

Bring your lunch; beverages and cookies provided. The meeting is open to the public.

Questions should be sent to

Yardemian Powers Belmont Boys Hoops Into Sectional Quarterfinals After Dispatching Charlestown

Photo: Danny Yardemian drives to the basket.

As Danny Yardemian was greeting fans and family after Belmont High Boys’ Basketball’s playoff opener against Charlestown High School, a fellow student looked at his classmate and said one word: “MVP.”

Anyone who witnessed his performance Tuesday night, Feb. 27, could hardly disagree with that sentiment. Playing near the top of his game, Yardemian showcased his talents by pouring in 35 points, handing out numerous assists and quarterbacking Belmont to a comprehensive drubbing of Charlestown, 72-47, in first round action in the Division 2 North sectional playoffs held at the Wenner Field House.

“I was just focused on the game,” said Yardemian, after the game. “I was just trying to be more aggressive as it’s the playoffs while trying to be more of a leader so my teammates can make more plays.”

“You’re fortunate to have a kid who works really hard, who’s skilled and can create shots out of the offense,” Belmont Head Coach Pritchard said of his junior point/shooting guard.

Belmont, at 16-7, will host Middlesex-rival Melrose High on Friday, March 2 at the Wenner, after the 12 seed Raiders (12-9) upset  Masconomet Regional, 58-53, in overtime, on Monday. The Marauders defeated the Raiders, 78-63, back on Jan. 23. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

“They’re a scrappy team. They are like us in the sense that they’ll hustle for loose balls, they’ll play tough defense,” said Yardemian.

Charlestown came to the Wenner with a tall – three starters over 6’5″ with senior center Franklin Udeh north of six-and-a-half – and physical team that came out of the hard-as-nails Boston City League at 10-9. But where the Townies had the advantage of the tale of the tape, the Marauders proved the complete team on the night.

“We played a lot of teams this year, and I don’t know if we’ve played a tougher team … rebounding,” said Pritchard.

Yardemian quickly placed his imprint on the match, scoring seven of Belmont’s first 11 points; on a drive and jumper, a pretty backdoor play with sophomore guard Mac Annus and a three-pointer from college-distance. Benefiting from Belmont’s “push” offense was senior forward Tomas Donoyan who sliced through for six in the first quarter while junior forward Ben Sseruwagi (8 points) knocked down a pair of buckets. Belmont ended the first quarter with a floater by Yardemian and a critical block by senior center Jake Pollack (2 points) to hold a three-point lead, 19-16, after one.

In front 30-25 midway through the second, Yardemian took the game into his hands, starting with a mid-range step-back jumper as he threw in 11 in the quarter while leading the offense. Assisted by the Townies lack of success from the outside – they would only hit three threes – and some poor ball handling decisions, Belmont was able to break several times for relatively easy hoops. With Yardemian cutting thorough the Townies for an uncontested layup at the buzzer, the Marauders took a 40-31 point lead into the half, half of the points coming from the Middlesex League all-star.

At the start of the third, Yardemian began playing helper, finding Donoyan (who scored 8 of his 16 in half) and Pollack (with a behind the head pass) as the lead expanded towards 20.

“He’s done a much better job of seeking out his teammates, and you have to do that to be a floor leader, you can’t just to look to score every time,” said Pritchard.

A corner three from Annus (9 points, all from beyond the arc) and a power move to the hoop by Yardemian inflated the advantage to 18 (56-38) at the end of three quarters. Charlestown had no answer to the surge and the fourth quarter was Yardemian who hit Belmont’s only two free throws in the game on to his way to 10 points in the final eight minutes.

While deferring speaking about Yardemian – “I’ve heard enough of him!” he said with a laugh – Pritchard heaped praise on co-captain Pollack who was thrown into the lion’s den by being matched up with the Townies big men.

“One of the guys who’s key to us is Jake,” said Pritchard, noting that most games Pollack is outweighed and shorter than who he’s playing. “And he doesn’t leave anything left in the tank when he’s done. That, right there, makes him our MVP.”

As for Friday’s game vs. Melrose, Pritchard was philosophic.

“Hey, we’re still playing. I’m happy with that,” he said.

Final Minute Tally Secures Playoff Win For Belmont ‘Blond’ Boys’ Hockey

Photo: The victorious Belmont High squad, blond and happy (From the Belmont High Hockey twitter site (

The Blond Boys did it.

After falling behind four times only to come back to tie the score, Belmont High Boys’ Hockey – who dyed their hair a yellowish color en masse before the game – scored in the final minute to give the Marauders a thrilling 5-4 victory over Middlesex League-rival Melrose High in the first round of the Division 1 North Sectionals on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at Chelmsford.

Sophomore forward Justin Rocha scored his fourth goal of the season – the assist going to senior line mate Alec Morin – with 1:03 remaining to secure the win. Rocha also scored on the power play to tie the game at 4 with the assist from senior Tim Bailey. Senior forward Will Dominiconi started the three goal third period with an early tally to knot the game up at 3.

Dominiconi also started the scoring in the first with a goal from senior captain Connor Dacey. Senior assistant captain and team’s leading scorer Steve Rizzuto – who was awarded postgame the coveted Belmont firefighter’s helmet for his overall play – notched his 19th goal of the season on the penalty kill with a little more than five minutes remaining in the second.

Wednesday’s victory was the first MIAA tournament win for the Marauders since Belmont defeated Arlington, 6-5, in four OT’s in 2006.

And Belmont will meet number 1 seed SpyPonders for the third time this year in the D1North quarterfinals taking place on Saturday, March 3 at Woburn’s O”Brien Rink. The time has yet to be set.