By Danny Kane
Traditionally, the end of the regular season means that a home playoff game is soon to follow for the Lower Merion Aces and their fans. For much of the 2010-11 campaign, it appeared the tradition might be broken. Sitting at 8-7 on January 22 after a loss to Public League contender Simon Gratz, the Aces’ chances for a home playoff game were slim. But LM caught fire down the stretch, reeling off seven straight wins en route to a 2nd place (13-3) finish in the Central League and a 15-7 overall record. Their reward? The 13th seed in the PIAA District 1 AAAA playoffs and a home game on Friday night at 7 PM against the Methacton Warriors of the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
Methacton is 15-9 and qualified for the PAC-10 Final Four this year. The Warriors have won nine of their last 12 games and pushed perennial power Norristown to overtime two weeks ago in a one-point loss. Methacton also holds boasts wins over Central Bucks West and Souderton.
Friday’s game will mark the first postseason game in the new Kobe Bryant Gymnasium and the first playoff game on the Lower Merion campus since 2008. The last two seasons, the Aces played all home games at Bala Cynwyd Middle School. Last year, LM suffered a tough first round playoff loss to Downingtown West at BC. In 2009, the Aces won three district games and qualified for the state playoffs.
The last time the Aces entered the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak with a double-digit seed was 2005. That year, the #12 Aces – who finished fourth in the Central League – made a magical run to the state championship. Whether the 2010-11 Aces can make a run of their own remains to be seen, but home is always a good place to start.