Rehoboth Beach, DE -- The Aces capped their winter break with consecutive victories over Delaware's top teams at the Bay Ball Classic National Invitational Basketball Tournament. After a sluggish, opening round loss to Pennsbury (PA), the Aces departed Rehoboth on a strong note, buoyed by two solid wins and four days of bonding. The team showed improvement in each contest, and played one of its most complete games of the season in a 78-52 thrashing of Woodbridge (Bridgeville, DE) on Sunday. Woodbridge entered the game with a 6-1 record and a #3 state billing. On Friday, the Aces knocked off Delaware's #1 team - Glasgow (Newark, DE) - by a 55-50 score in overtime.
Junior wing Greg Robbins paced the Aces' attack, averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds in three games, including a line of 23 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in the win against Woodbridge. Senior guard Carl Johnson added 16.7 ppg, 5 apg and collected 14 steals in three games. He shot 22-28 from the free throw line for the tournament. Senior guard Steve Meehan averaged 9.4 ppg, including a 16 point outing (5-7 from the field) against Woodbridge. Junior Eric Stahler averaged 5 ppg, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Every member of the Aces roster contributed throughout the tournament.
In addition to their on-court exploits, the Aces enjoyed a number of off-the-court highlights on the trip. A visit to the movies, team meals at Cracker Barrel, Friendly's, TGI Friday's and Grotto Pizza, a number of hotel activities including "Team Jeopardy," NCAA Live 2K7 and general "chilling" helped bring the team closer together. The Aces also found time to hold several practices at a local middle school gymnasium.
In the Woodbridge game, the Aces used a strong start to gain a 15-7 advantage in the first quarter. The margin grew to double-digits for the first time at the end of the 2nd quarter, when Robbins hit a fade-away three at the buzzer to give the Aces a 35-23 halftime edge. The Aces came out firing on all cylinders in the third, outscoring Woodbridge 27-12; Meehan scored ten points in the frame, including two treys. Senior Galloway Green (6 points 6 rebounds), scored a breakaway lay-up off a beautiful feed by Johnson to punctuate the quarter. Johnson harassed the Woodbridge guards all afternoon, notching a tournament-high six steals. Despite a hostile crowd that favored the home-state team, the Aces kept their composure and coasted to victory in the fourth quarter.
Against Glasgow, the Aces jumped out to a 15-5 lead in the opening stanza behind two treys from Robbins and one from Johnson. They held the lead until late in the fourth quarter when Glasgow made a push to knot the game at 46-46 with just under a minute to play. Glasgow regained possession after an Aces turnover and scored to take their first lead with 18.9 seconds on the clock. Robbins answered with a strong drive to the basket to knot the game at 48-48 heading into overtime. In the extra period, the Aces' defense shined, limiting Glasgow to just two free throws and 0-7 shooting from the field. Robbins and Johnson each scored field goals in the frame and three clutch free-throws by Stahler sealed the final outcome.
A slow start and cold shooting coupled by a torrid offensive performance from Pennsbury led to a 66-48 Aces loss in the tournament's opening round. Robbins led all scorers with 18, but it was not enough to stop the Pennsbury attack.
Photos and video highlights from the trip will be posted in the coming days. LM resumes Central League play this week with a visit to Penncrest on Thursday 1/3 (7:30 PM) and a home contest against Radnor on Saturday 1/5 (7:30 PM).