During a ceremony Monday evening, the Lower Merion School Board and administration officially honored the Aces for their State Championship victory on Saturday. (Superintendent Dr. Jamie Savedoff and Board members were huge fans this season, attending almost every Aces playoff game, including the title game in Hershey.)
Dr. Savedoff and Board President Larry Rosenwald shared their praise and expressed gratitude to the Aces for an historic season and passed a formal resolution recognizing the team's efforts. They also extended an invitation to the entire community to celebrate the team during a parade to be held this Sunday at 1 PM on Montgomery Ave. between Suburban Square and Arnold Field.
The following is a transcript of Dr. Savedoff's remarks,
inset for Board Resolution:
What a ride!! On behalf of the entire Lower Merion community, I would like to honor and congratulate the 2006 Lower Merion Aces boys basketball team for winning the Pennsylvania Quad A State Championship.
Capping a remarkable playoff run that included wins against undefeated Plymouth Whitemarsh, league rival Springfield, a tough Lancaster McCaskey squad and longtime nemesis Chester, the Aces shocked Schenley of Pittsburgh 60-58 on Saturday to take the title. The win marks the 6th championship in school history, most of any AAAA program in Pennsylvania and the first back-to-back Finals appearance for a Lower Merion team since 1942 and '43.
For the 2nd consecutive year, the Aces clawed their way to the State Finals with grit, skill and fearless determination. And for the 2nd straight year, the Aces faced a foe that sportswriters across the State deemed a unanimous favorite. But, our boys would not be denied this time around. They dug in and displayed their characteristic never-say-die attitude, rallying from behind to take the gold and ignite the celebration of a lifetime for Aces Nation.
This is a team that has come to define a community - thousands of fans traveled to each playoff game to be part of the magical ride, to show their support for these amazing kids and coaches. The players proved that hustle, heart and desire is indeed the stuff of champions. Whether it was Ernest Moore diving for loose balls or Arian Thompson taking a charge, Ryan Brooks tenaciously attacking the basket or Garrett Williamson soaring for a block, Pete Lucas drilling a clutch 3-pointer, Jon Gray patrolling the paint or a freshman Greg Robbins playing like a senior on the biggest stage, every player on this team found ways to contribute. Their efforts remind all of us of the importance of giving 100% effort 100% of the time.
I recently learned that the team returned to the gym immediately after their first state playoff win, a convincing 25-point victory, to run windsprints and practice diving for loose balls. The team had certain defensive standards that it had not met, and the kids and coaches were determined to get it right. Without hesitation, without a complaint, the kids literally sprinted and dove on the hardwood for an hour. In a defining moment, tenth grader Ben Lucas, a player who'd been called up from the JV for the end of the season, showed just why our Aces are champions. Sacrificing his body, he soared airborne at an impossible angle to dive for a loose ball, landing flat on his chest at full speed. In that moment, said Coach Gregg Downer, he was Superman. And that's what this team is all about. You are the Supermen of Lower Merion.
On and off the court, you represent our community with dignity, honor and class. Your efforts, your accomplishments are nothing short of heroic.
Thank you for inspiring us all and bestowing a legacy that will live forever in our hearts and minds. Now, I would like to call each of you up to be honored. Please come to the front when I read your name:
Assistant Coaches Chris Vernick, Blake Stabert, Will Carter, Doug Young, Jon Fadely, Marc Tannebaum, Dave Stotter, Guy Stewart, Mike Venafra and Sal Cucionotti
We invite the entire community to join us next Sunday at 1 PM for a parade to honor this special group as they travel from Suburban Square to Arnold Field to be recognized in front of the entire community. For more information on the parade and other celebration activities, you can visit the team's website at www.aceshoops.com.
Once again, congratulations and thank you for making us all so proud!