Maybe it’s just coincidence that the biggest game between city rivals in recent memory features a pair of Aces alumni. More likely, there’s good reason that Ryan Brooks and Garrett Williamson will be on the court with the A-10 championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line.
The dynamic duo that led the Aces to a state title just two years ago, have put their championship pedigree and “whatever it takes” mentality on display to help fuel late season surges for their respective Big 5 teams. Clutch shots, lockdown defense, unselfish play – it’s what Aces fans have grown accustomed to from Brooks and Williamson. With a showdown set for Saturday night in Atlantic City between Brooks’s Temple Owls and Williamson’s St. Joe’s Hawks, the nation’s college basketball eyes will catch a glimpse of Lower Merion’s finest at title time.
Unfortunately for Aces fans, both players can’t hoist the winner’s trophy this time around. The silver lining – both teams have a chance, win or lose, to make the Big Dance. And no matter what, a Lower Merion alum will be playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time in history.
Getting to the A-10 title game for Williamson and the Hawks required a three-game tournament sweep, including an upset of #10 ranked Xavier. Brooks and the Owls, who received a first round tournament bye for finishing 2nd (behind Xavier) in the regular season A-10 standings, knocked off a dangerous Charlotte squad in the semi-finals.
And now it all comes down to this. St. Joe’s. Temple. Brooks. Williamson. A championship battle that was clearly meant to be.
Tip-off for Saturday’s game is 6 PM at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. For more coverage, visit philly.com: