Lower Merion earned a hard-fought 47-44 victory against Ridley on Tuesday night to move into sole possession of 1st place in the Central League. Greg Robbins (18 points, 9 rebounds), Carl Johnson (15 points, 3 assists) and Steve Meehan (8 points, 3 rebounds) led the Aces attack, and the team received important contributions from Eric Stahler (4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 points), Harley Williamson (6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 points) and Andrew King (5 rebounds, 2 points).
It was yet another taught, action-packed chapter in the Lower Merion-Ridley rivalry. After Ridley took an early 7-4 lead, the Aces took control thanks to stifling defense, a ball-control offense and timely shots in the half-court set. With Robbins on the bench with two early fouls, Johnson dominated the 2nd quarter en route to 11 first half points. Meehan drilled a deep three in the first frame and followed with two beautiful pull-up jumpers to help propel the Aces to a 26-18 halftime margin.
Ridley countered quickly in the third quarter, with Dan Robinson (20 points), Steve Egee (13 points) and Shamar Harris (10 points) helping to ignite a 21-10 run. The Green Raiders led by as many as five before a late comeback by the Aces. Robbins, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the 2nd half, keyed the fourth-quarter rally with two consecutive treys. He hit his first with the Aces down 41-38 with just under three minutes to play. After Egee countered with a jumper, Robbins again connected from beyond the arc, giving Aces their first fourth quarter lead. On the ensuing play, Egee drove the lane and was fouled, hitting one of two free-throws to knot the score at 44-44. The Aces held the Green Raiders scoreless over the last two minutes of play and capped the win with a Robbins lay-up and free throw from Meehan. A three-point heave by Robinson at the buzzer fell short.
Despite Ridley's 21 point outburst in the third quarter, the Aces played one of their strongest defensive games of the season, led by Johnson's relentless pressure in the backcourt. With the win, LM moves to 11-2 (9-1 League) on the season; Ridley's record stands at 12-3 (7-2 League).
Up next for the Aces is a home game Thursday night against Springfield at 7:30 PM. On Saturday, the Aces visit the Harrisburg Cougars in a 2 PM game that will be televised live on CN8.