February 21, 2009
Morton, PA – Lil Carney scored a game-high 18 points and Molly Hanlon added eight of her 12 points in the second half, including her 1,000th career point, as Lower Merion defeated Upper Darby, 48-29, for the third time this season in the quarterfinal round of the District I tournament on Saturday afternoon.
The Aces had previously defeated Upper Darby in two Central League victories in the regular season including a two point road win, 40-38, in the first game of the season and a come from behind 52-41 victory on January 21st.
With their most recent victory, the fourth-seeded Aces (23-2) end a twenty-three year drought and reach the semifinal round of the District I tournament for the first time since 1986.
Lower Merion, which has held their opponents to an average 28.3 points per game on the season, tallied another impressive defensive showing as they held the Royals to just four points in the final quarter. Leading 26-25 after three stanzas, the Aces stepped up their defensive efforts and outscored Upper Darby 22-4 to run away with the victory.
With 6:44 remaining in the final period and the Aces holding a one point lead, junior Kiki Worku drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Hanlon on the right wing who knocked down an open three to give the Aces breathing room at 29-25. The long range basket was fitting for the Aces’ senior as it gave her the 160th career three-point field goal and set her over the 1000th point plateau for her career.
Following that basket, Upper Darby’s Diamond Beckford (15 points) cut the Aces’ lead to two on consecutive free throws but Lower Merion responded when senior Amy Woods found a cutting Worku who scored on a beautifully executed backdoor lay-up which also drew a foul sending the Aces’ fans into a frenzy.
After an additional two free throws by Upper Darby cut the Aces’ lead to 31-29 with 4:44 on the clock, Lower Merion would use a 17-0 run including all 17 points from the charity stripe to put the game away. Carney shot an impressive 8-of-10 from the line in the final four minutes of the game and the Aces shot an overall 17-of-25 from the stripe in the final eight minutes.
Carney led all scorers on the afternoon with 18 including an 11-of-14 effort from the foul line. Hanlon added 12 points, three steals, two assists, two rebounds and a block shot. Worku, coming off the bench in her “sixth man” role for the Aces, gave Lower Merion a huge lift recording her second double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Other scorers for the Aces included sophomore Sheba Hall who tallied five points and three assists, Woods with two points and four rebounds and sophomore Lila Jones with one point.
With the victory, the Aces will look to keep their winning ways alive when they advance to the Final Four round of the District I tournament. They will face No. 1 ranked Cheltenham on Wednesday evening at 7:30 PM at Norristown High School.