Sophomore Greg Robbins scored 25 points and Ben Lucas had nine to lead the Aces to a 70-55 win against Carlisle in a state playoff opener at Spring-Ford. The Aces used smothering perimeter defense and torrid shooting to race to a 15-6 first quarter lead. Carlisle, a gritty District 3 opponent, pulled even at 15-15 in the 2nd, but never led as the Aces regained control and sent the Thundering Herd out to pasture. Key to the Aces' victory were the defensive performances by guards Carl Johnson and Eric Barefield. Johnson hounded Carlisle's top scorer and Farleigh Dickinson-bound senior Jordan Staszyszyn all afternoon. Staszyszyn, one of the top 3-point threats in Pennsylvania, had just six points and no threes through three quarters before piling up 20 in the fourth, most of which came after the game was decided. Barefield held Carlisle point guard Adolph Comer to 11 points - Comer was ejected from the game in the fourth frame. No other Herd player had more than seven. The action grew chippy at the finish as a senior-laden Carlisle squad fouled frequently and with fervor, sending the Aces to the line ten times in the final two minutes. The Aces received solid performances from a number of players. Lucas hit three clutch treys, including a bomb after the Herd had narrowed the gap to five early in the third. Eric Stahler played another solid floor game, finishing with eight points, four rebounds, three assists and no turnovers. Adam Ellison provided interior muscle, hauling in six rebounds. Kevin Escott contributed his usual hard-nosed defense and heads up play. Steve Meehan had two treys and three assists, including a nifty give-and-go with Robbins during the Aces' second half surge. The Aces tallied 19 assists on the night, led by Johnson (7). Will Jones, Alon Seltzer, Oliver Cohen. Mike Joseph and Harley Williamson also saw action. Robbins led the team with 11 rebounds and had three blocked shots, including what was perhaps the play of the game -- a soaring rejection of a fast-break layup attempt that brought a packed crowd of nearly 1,800 to its feet in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the crowd couldn't stay up for long due to a PAC conference rule that prohibits fans from standing during the game. Still, the Dawg Pound remained loud and boisterous. Nearly 200 students made the trip up 422, with a healthy dose of parents, friends and alumni contributing to the cause. Ryan Brooks '06 (Temple), Garrett Williamson '06 (St. Joe's) and Dan Capkin '05 (Gettysburg) offered words of support during pregame - Brooks and Williamson traveled to the game on the team bus. Next up for the Aces is a showdown with District 11 champ Easton on Wednesday (6 PM, Reading High School/Geigle Complex). The Rovers (29-1) advanced to Round 2 with an overtime win on Saturday against West Chester Henderson. Additional notes...Saturday marked the 2nd consecutive year that the Aces opened state play with a win at Spring-Ford. Lower Merion beat Edison in Round One on the same court last season...Numerous Dawg Pound alumni were in the crowd, many of whom are home from Spring break... A photo galley has been published
. The Philadelphia Inquirer
& Carlisle's hometown newspaper, The Sentinel
has coverage on the game as well. Coverage of Saturday's game was also covered by Jabari Young of Main Line Life
. The Life also published commentary
by Young in their 3-14 issue. Box Score: Carlisle 6 19 10 20 - 55 Lower Merion 15 15 12 28 - 70 C: Dametrius Thomas 2, Jordan Stasyszyn 26, Adolph Comer 11, Walter Ogoth-Ogala 7, Corey Gelbaugh 5, Anthony Coleman 4. LM: Eric Barefield 8, Carl Johnson 9, Greg Robbins 25, Steve Meehan 6, Eric Stahler 8, Adam Ellison 4, Ben Lucas 9, William Jones 1.