Drexel Hill, PA -- In an all out defensive battle showcasing two of the Central League’s top teams, Lower Merion came out with a hard fought 40-38 season opening victory against Upper Darby on Tuesday evening. With the win, LM improves to 1-0 (1-0 CL) on the season while the Royals drop to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
The Aces struggled out of the gates, sending two starters to the bench early due to foul trouble, and shot a dismal 4-of-10 from the charity stripe in the first half. Despite the poor play, LM trailed by only five points, 22-17, at intermission. With 4:14 remaining in the third period and Upper Darby ahead, 27-21, the Aces used a 13-4 run, which included two three-point field goals by senior guard Molly Hanlon, to take their first lead of the evening and change the momentum of the game.
In the final quarter, the Aces held a slight lead at 38-36 with one minute remaining but a LM turnover gave Upper Darby the ball back. After an Upper Darby lay-up with .48 seconds remaining that tied the game, the Aces called a timeout with just over 30 seconds remaining. With twelve seconds remaining on the clock, Hanlon drove hard to the rim taking a hard foul and converted both free throws to secure the victory.
The senior duo of Hanlon and Amy Woods each tallied a game-high 15 points in the victory. Hanlon shot 7-of-8 from the foul line while Woods added a team-high eight rebounds in the win. Senior guard Lil Carney chipped in with eight points and three assists and junior forward Kiki Worku added two points and four rebounds for the Aces.
The Aces return to action on Friday evening in their home opener vs. Central League newcomer Garnet Valley. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM at Bala Cynwyd Middle School.