Photo: Danny Yardemian after scoring his record-breaking 46th point.
The first Girls’/Boys’ Basketball Friday Night doubleheader saw a record fall and Belmont’s teams gather their second wins at Lexington on Friday, Dec. 14.
Boys’: Danny Goes For 46, Belmont cruises late
If there was one word that would describe senior guard Danny Yardemian night against Lexington, it would be “drive.”
As in drive from the top of the key, drive along the baseline, drive at players and drive to the hoop. By the end of the night, Yardemian drove past Belmont’s long-standing single-game points record of 44 points – held by three players – as the league all-star hit for 46 leading the Marauders to an 89-73 victory over a physical Lexington squad.
Danny’s night included 19 baskets, a single 3, and five free throws in a demonstration of consistency, scoring 13, 13 and 14 points in the first three quarters before coming out with 6 in the fourth. Lexington’s defensive approach to Yardemian led to the majority of his points coming off the dribble.
Saying that his usually reliable mid to long-range jumpers are not yet falling, “[Lexington was] giving me the inside and I took it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said
When asked about Yardemian’s record-breaking performance, longtime Head Coach Adam Pritchard nonchalantly called it “a pretty good night.”
“He should have scored 50,” quipped Pritchard. “I could have gotten 60 if I knew how to shoot free throws,” said Yardemian.
After dispatching a young Wilmington team, 99-44, on the road Tuesday in the season opener, Belmont came to the Lexington High School gym for a step up in competition as the Minutemen overpowered Stoneham, 81-56, in its opener. And it was a matchup of the Minutemen’s strength and height against Belmont’s speed and having the better one-to-five on the floor. Given the inside with a single defender assigned to him, Yardemian started early, scoring 13 points as his teammates contributed 11 in the first quarter while Lexington relied on its big presence at center, senior Kase Cronin (8 points in the first eight minutes, 18 points for the game) on the inside and guards junior Will Amsler and senior Jazin Ayala (16 points each) from the perimeter.
Belmont’s opportunist defense jumped into passing lanes and setting up under its basket would keep Lexington trailing by 7 to 9 points for most of the second quarter with senior Ben SSeruwagi and sophomore Tim Minicozzi (11 points each) assisting Yardemian who put up his second 13 point quarter to propel Belmont a 50-41 halftime lead.
Lexington would cut the Marauders’ advantage with a big and tall lineup to four in the second half, but just as quickly Yardemian was there to take on single and double defenders to score. In the third, he began calling for the floor to the cleared to allow him to either make his now patient drive or pass to a teammate such as this year’s discovery, sophomore Preston Jackson-Stephens (7 points) who left his mark on both ends of the court, with hard-nose defense under the boards and a steady stroke from outside that included a killer 3 in the final quarter.
Belmont blew the game wide open after the Minutemen closed the gap to 68-64, going on a 13-0 run from late in the third to midway into the fourth quarter. Shortly after he broke the record, Yardemian was taken out to receive a well-deserved round of applause.
“I have to credit coach and team,” said Yardemian. “They attracted defenders, and I got one-on-ones.”
While only two games into the season, Belmont is currently averaging an NBA-like 94 points a game with Yardemian at a 31 PPG clip. Belmont takes on Stoneham at home on Tuesday and Winchester on Thursday.
Girls Hoops Takes The Measure of the Minutemen
In the near past, a visit to Lexington was hardly a pleasant experience when the Minutemen possessed a scoring machine named Anna Kelly, she who holds the Wenner=omml Field House scoring record with 54 points. But recently, a trip to this neighboring town has resulted in happier outcomes.
On Friday, in the matinee of the doubleheader, the Marauders used a suffocating defense to run away from the Minutemen to secure a workmanlike victory, 58-29, to go to 2-0 in the Middlesex League.
“I still don’t think our offense is where it should be, but then you don’t want to play your best at this time of the season,” said Melissa Hart, Belmont’s head coach.
After trailing 2-1 in the first minute, it was all Belmont for the remaining 31 minutes as the team used its overall speed to produce a steady stream of steals while forcing bad shots as the Marauders outplayed the hosts, 34-9 in the first half. Seniors Meghan Tan (9 points) and Jane Mahon sparked the offense in the first quarter with 7 and 4 points respectively after freshman starter Nina Minicozzi hit a long-range bucket for a three for the second game running.
Sophomore Maiya Bergdorf scored 9 of her 14 total points in the third quarter to lead the Marauders in scoring. The final half was less than thrilling as both teams appeared to emphasize defense and passing than reverting to schoolyard play.
One downside in Belmont’s win was the return of an old bugaboo that the Marauders hadn’t seen for the past three years; missed free throws as Belmont went 8 for 18 from the charity stripe.
Belmont will be on the road Tuesday in Stoneham and Thursday with the boys’ at home vs. Winchester.