Boca Raton, FL -- On December 18th, the Lower Merion Aces flew south to the Fort Lauderdale area for five days to participate in the Rock Holiday Classic held at St. Andrew’s High School. After tearing their way through the opening round games, including a 57-16 drubbing over MS Douglas (FL) and an impressive 56-27 victory over host St. Andrew’s (FL), the Aces found themselves matched up against local Main Line area rival Notre Dame Academy (PA) of Villanova in the championship game.
In the first round victory over MS Douglas on December 19th, the Aces jumped out to a 20-3 run to begin the game and never looked back. LM continued their defensive dominance holding their opponent to a season-low 16 points in the 57-16 victory. Eight players got into the scoring column for the Aces led by junior Kiki Worku and senior Molly Hanlon’s 12 points apiece. Sophomore guard Sheba Hall registered a career-high 11 points in addition to five assists while senior Amy Woods chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds. Other scorers for LM included Lil Carney with five, Dana Albalancy with four and Erin Knox and Lila Jones each with two.
It was much of the same for the Aces in their second round match-up on December 20th as they drilled host St. Andrew‘s by a 52-23 final score. The Aces’ defensive pressure held the Scots to just six first half points while keeping leading scorer Taylor Trembly (14.6 ppg) at bay with four points on the night en route to the victory. Hall and Knox, the Aces most capable defender, shared the defensive duties on Trembly. Worku led the Aces with a career-tying 17 points and 10 boards for her first double-double on the season. Woods also tallied double digits recording 15 points to go along with seven rebounds while Hall chipped in with seven points, five steals and four assists. Other scoring for the Aces included Lila Jones with five points, Lil Carney with four and Knox and Dana Albalancy with two points apiece. Hanlon led the Aces with a career-high eight assists in addition to five rebounds, three steals and a block.
In the title bout, the Aces trailed 10-5 at the end of one after a slow start and poor shooting from the floor. Lower Merion fought their way back in the second quarter picking up the pressure and forcing Notre Dame into uncharacteristic turnovers. The Aces used a 10-5 to tie the game at 20-20 but a three-pointer by tournament MVP Devon Kane (Villanova-bound) off an offensive rebound with 10 seconds remaining gave Notre Dame the lead back heading into the break.
In the second stanza, both teams defended well and controlled the defensive glass. To begin the fourth quarter, Lower Merion used a 5-0 run which included a Molly Hanlon three-pointer and an offensive put back by Amy Woods to take their first lead of the night at 25-23. With the Aces trailing 28-27 with 18 seconds remaining, Lower Merion called a time-out in front of their bench. On the ensuing inbounds, Sheba Hall drove the lane and kicked the ball to Lil Carney whose uncontested shot from the corner rimmed out. After a quick foul and two Notre Dame free throws that put the Irish up 30-27, the Aces’ last second three-point attempt fell short giving Lower Merion their first defeat of the season. With the loss, the Aces drop to 7-1 overall on the season.
Hanlon led Lower Merion with a team-high 10 points in addition to four rebounds and three assists while Carney chipped in with seven points, three rebounds and two assists. Other scorers included Woods and Hall with four points apiece and Worku with two in the low scoring affair.
The senior tandem of Hanlon and Woods represented the Aces on the Rock Holiday Classic All-tournament team.
Lower Merion will get back in action after the New Year when they take on Central League foe Strath Haven on Tuesday, January 6th. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM at Strath Haven High School.