The physical laws of earth are very clear. If two undefeated teams play each other, one of them is going to be sporting a loss at the conclusion of play. As fate would have it, the Penncrest Lions, undefeated in Central League play, arrived at the Bryant Gymnasium to challenge the Aces, also undefeated in conference play. It was the Lions who had to make the long trip home with a loss, as they were vanquished by the Aces, 70-42.
The hype machine was in full force entering the contest, as both schools' student sections were in full voice, with their vocal chords in post-season form. However, for those fans anticipating a taut, down-to-the-wire thriller, it was simply not meant to be. The Aces jumped out early, and shortly thereafter, the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Behind slashing drives to the basket by Raheem Hall ’13 and JaQuan Johnson ’14, coupled with BJ Johnson ’13 draining shots from the perimeter, the Aces exploded to a 19-9 first quarter advantage. Penncrest struggled with the Aces’ full court pressure and were limited in their outside shooting game.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter as the Aces began to pull away. JaQuan Johnson deposited nine points in the period, capping his shooting with a smooth trey from the corner. Halftime arrived with the Aces sailing into the locker room with a 44-19 advantage, and the only remaining question was what the final margin might be.
The second half opened with another surge by LM, this time on the back of Yohanny Dalembert ’13, who had battled foul trouble throughout the first half. Three dunks, including a spectacular alley-oop, and two foul shot swishes pushed the lead to nearly 40 points in the middle of the third quarter. This gave the Aces the opportunity to give extended minutes to their reserve players who give so much of themselves each day in practice.
Led by Doug Cotler ’13, who filled the stat sheet with four points, three rebounds and a blocked shot, along with Matt Wasson ’13 tallying his first varsity points, the Aces cruised to the finish line in front of not only a delighted Dawg Pound, but a large collection of Aces alumni rooting them on. Bryan Shapiro ’13 and Corey Sherman were their usual hustling selves, harassing the Lions’ guards from end line to end line, and Rasool Smith ’13 showed his trademark grit with three tough rebounds. Steve Pendleton ’15 capably ran the offense, and Oliver Henry ’14 saw his first varsity action.
The Aces were led in scoring by BJ Johnson’s 19 points, and Raheem Hall and JaQuan Johnson tossed in 13 points each. Yohanny Dalembert added eight points, Justin McFadden ’14 nailed a smooth trey for his three points, Jule Brown registered four points, and Baird Howland ’13 and Emery Shiffraw ’13 each added two.
The Aces cannot rest on their laurels, as they will hit the road for the first time on Thursday night at undefeated neighborhood rival Harriton. In this Coaches vs. Cancer event, the Lady Aces will open the festivities with a 6pm tip, with the boys to follow at 730pm.