By Danny Kane
The Aces put another scare into one of the state’s top teams, but came up just short in a 61-57 loss to West Chester Rustin. Senior Eric Green led the Lower Merion attack with 17 points and ten rebounds, good enough for team MVP honors at the Sneaker Villa Classic at Harrisburg High. The Aces battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit and had several chances to tie or go ahead in the final two minutes, but just couldn’t connect on several open looks. Rustin closed out the game by making six consecutive free throws.
In addition to Green’s solid performance, the Aces were helped by Darius Hall and Raheem Hall, who had 12 points apiece. Rustin was led by 6’4” senior wing Corey Blake, who shared game MVP honors with Green and led all players in scoring with 22 points. Fellow Senior Zach Butcher added 12 points for the Golden Knights, who made a deep district run last year and are expected to make noise at the state level.
Despite a relatively pedestrian 6-6 record, there is a silver lining for the young Aces. Four of their losses are by a combined 7 points, and 5 of their 6 losses have come against top-ranked teams, including Upper Darby (twice), Bethlehem Liberty, Bensalem and the aforementioned West Chester Rustin. The Aces play one of the toughest schedules of any team in the state and they have battled admirably to date; the hope is that experience against stiff competition will better prepare them for the road ahead.
The Aces return home on Wednesday to take on Radnor and host Garnet Valley on Friday night.