Photo: Danny Yardemian with his folks after scoring his 1,000’s point.
It wasn’t if but when Danny Yardemian would break the 1,000 point barrier against Arlington Friday night, Jan. 11.
And the 1,000th and 1,001st points came on a layup just before the half time buzzer blared as Yardemian capped off an 18 point first half against the SpyPonders.
But any hoopla for reaching that career highlight would wait for the end of the matchup.
“Let’s celebrate a little now but let’s get back into the game,” the senior guard and captain told his teammates before heading to the lockers.
By the finish, Yardemian put up 27 points as Belmont prevailed, 77-54, in a relatively dominant team performance against the back-to-back Middlesex Liberty Division champions which usually had the best of Belmont over the past four seasons.
While the countdown on Yardemian’s 1,000th point breakthrough was one everyone’s mind in the Wenner, about the game, Belmont resembled a sprint squad at a track meet as Head Coach Adam Pritchard has the Marauders’ running, running and running some more, creating a myriad of scoring opportunities resulting in the Marauders’ putting up a gaudy 73 points per game. And putting the pedal to the metal is how Belmont shot off to a 16-9 lead after one with Yardemian leading the way with 6 points followed by 3s from junior Mac Annus (20 points) and sophomore Tim Minicozzi (14 points).
Belmont upped the lead to 35-22 by the half as Yardemian hit a pair of 3s and scored his 11th and 12th points of the second quarter on a layup from co-captain senior guard Ben Sseruwagi as time expired.
Arlington would cut the lead to 10 early in the third quarter before Annus scored 11 points of his 14 in the third on a two minute personal run to secure the win.
After the game – and before the celebratory cake was presented with his accomplishment in icing – Yardemian thanked his teammates over the past four years “who set up plays that allowed me to score. It’s a team sport and I couldn’t do it without these 13 other guys. They’re all special.”
“It’s been a really special year for me,” said the Bentley-bound all purpose guard, having set the team’s single game scoring record at 46 points earlier in the season against Lexington. “It means a lot to get those records and have an individual banner. They all were goals I had for myself but we have bigger things to accomplish along the way.”
Belmont ups its record to 9-1 after defeating the SpyPonder and Melrose on Tuesday, coming off Sunday’s first loss of the season against Algonquin Regional in a “Heritage” game held at the TD Garden in Boston. (While counted as a defeat on its record, the Heritage game is not counted when determining the team’s seed in the MIAA postseason tournament.)
Girls’ Remain Undefeated
It’s been a wild week for the undefeated Belmont High Girls’ Hoops squad, defeating a pair of one-loss teams, Reading and Melrose, before hosting Arlington High in the early game of the twin bill at the Wenner Field House. While its record is just north of .500, this edition of the SpyPonders are young – the varsity is made up of two seniors and nine sophomores (four youngsters are starters) – and more than happy to play a little rough and tumble. (Watch out for this team in two years time.)
While the visitors stuck around early, Belmont’s hallmark aggressive half-court zone defense and points under the basket settled the outcome of the game by the half as the Marauders remain unbeaten with a 48-30 win. Belmont is currently 9-0 (7-0 in league play) and ranked in the top five of both the Boston Globe and Herald Top 20 High School polls.
Up five after the first quarter, 15-10, Belmont upped its defensive stance on the young challengers entering the second. And what a difference for Belmont as the SpyPonders could not stop the Marauders’ speed (Belmont had 13 steals in the game) or contend with the host’s considerable height advantage under the glass (6 blocks and 9 offensive rebounds for the team) as the ‘Ponders registered a goose egg over the eight minutes as Belmont took a 20 point cushion (30-10) into the half behind the starting backcourt pairing of senior Megan Tan (6 points in the first half) and freshman Nina Minicozzi (eight in the first) as both finished with 10 points.
“We got a lot of offense from our guards because they were just quicker on both ends of the court,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart.
“We passed the ball around really well and that got everyone open at some point,” said sophomore Miaya Bergdorf who was top scorer with 15 points including three 3s.
While the lead hovered around 2o for the second half, Arlington was unafraid to bang with the Marauders with each loose ball ending up with bodies lying on the deck.
“They were physical but that really didn’t bother us because [our forwards] are pretty tall and they still were able to get the rebounds,” said Bergdorf, referring to seniors Jess Giorgio, Jane Mahon, Ella Gagnon and sophomore center Emma McDevitt who came off the bench to score 5 points and secure a game-high six rebounds, half off the offensive boards.