Who would have thunk it? With a six-game non-league schedule considered by many to be among the toughest in PIAA, the Aces were hopeful to at least gain a 3-3 split on the season. Thanks to impressive and somewhat unexpected recent wins, however, the Aces’ non-league record stands at 5-0 with one game left to play (Pennsbury on January 27). On Saturday, the Aces beat PIAA AAA runner-up Communications Tech 49-47 to follow-up last week’s huge buzzer-beater victory against Chester. Other non-league wins included McCaskey and Parkland in the tip-off tournament and Penn Wood in the Main Line Classic. Hopefully, success against high level non-league competition will help prepare the squad for the upcoming Central League campaign. To date, the Aces are just 2-3 against league foes.
Jameer Nelson Classic MVP Carl Johnson with Jeremy Treatman
Saturday’s game was another impressive defensive effort for the Maroon & White. The Aces held Communications Tech to their season low in points scored (47) and limited the Phoenix to two single-digit quarters. Carl Johnson led all scorers with 15 points and was named team MVP for the two-game Jameer Nelson Holiday Classic. (Johnson also scored 15 points against Chester). Eric Barefield (12 points, four steals), Eric Stahler (8 points, 5 rebounds), Greg Robbins (8 points, 6 rebounds), Kevin Escott (4 points) and Adam Ellison (2 points, 7 rebounds) rounded out the scoring. Johnson scored on an array of moves and had eight straight in the 2nd quarter to help build the Aces halftime margin of 25-17. Stahler was stellar defensively, limiting Tech’s 6’6 star Andrew Randall to just two points. The game was the first in more than two weeks for Robbins, who returned from injury to make important contributions off the bench.
The Aces (7-3), who haven’t played at home since December 16, travel to Marple on Tuesday night for the first game of the New Year. Tip-off is 7:30 PM. The Tigers are coming off a 50-38 win against Friends Central.
For Philadelphia Inquirer coverage of the Aces’ win against Communications Tech, click here.