Aces Set to Tip-Off 2009-10 Season

Back to News List | Posted on Nov 25th, 2009
Seniors Oliver Cohen (L) and Alon Seltzer (R) will help guide the Aces this season.

The 105th season of Lower Merion Basketball is underway and the 2009-10 squad is preparing for action. It has been an eventful and exciting offseason for the Maroon & White, marked by a 13-day trip to California, team camp at the University of Pittsburgh, several tournaments and countless hours of individual improvement in the gym. With the season's first game less than three weeks away, the excitement is building for the return of Aces Hoops. Here are a few things fans should know about the upcoming season:

The Schedule
Year in and year out, the Aces play one of the most challenging schedules in Pennsylvania. The 2009-10 campaign is no different. The Aces will play six showcase games against non-league opponents with serious post-season aspirations. First up is a showdown with Neshaminy, one of Bucks County's emerging powers, at the Jameer Nelson Classic at Widener University (12/28). Game two of the Jameer Nelson Classic is an intriguing match-up with South Jersey's most decorated program, Atlantic City, at Gwynedd Mercy College (12/30). In January, the Aces travel to Harrisburg High School to play District 3 state contender Red Land (1/17) at the 1st Annual Harrisburg Play-by-Play Classic. A week later, they'll tangle with top-ranked Reading High School at the Kobe Bryant Classic at Archbishop Carroll (1/23). January concludes with a match-up against defending District 11 champ Parkland at Villanova University as part of the Primetime Shootout (1/30). The non-league campaign concludes with a deep and talented Bensalem squad at the Hakim Warrick Classic at Philadelphia University (2/7).

The Central League, perennially one of the top leagues in the area, features a number of talented squads and individual performers this year. Competition will be fierce. The Aces play in the large school division of the league and face Conestoga, Garnet Valley, Haverford, Ridley and Upper Darby twice and have individual match-ups against Harriton, Marple Newtown, Penncrest, Springfield and Strath Haven. The Aces play Garnet at the Wachovia Center on 1/29 prior to the Lakers/Sixers game.

The team opens the preseason with a tri-scrimmage at Saint Joseph's University against Catholic League behemoth Roman Catholic and Friends League powerhouse Friends Central (11/28). On December 5th, the Aces will travel to the Poconos to scrimmage Pocono Mountain East, one of this year's AAAA favorites.

The Venue
The Aces will continue to play home games at the friendly confines of Bala Cynwyd Middle School this season. The new Lower Merion High School (and a new gymnasium) will open in conjunction with the 2010-11 school year.

New Faces
The Aces graduated eight seniors from last year's state playoff squad, but return two starters in guards Alon Seltzer and Oliver Cohen and at least eight players with varsity experience (final rosters won't be set until at least the end of this week).

Other News & Notes

  • Once again, the Aces will launch the season with "Maroon Madness," a fan-friendly event to be held Friday, December 4th at Lower Merion HS (Downs Gymnasium). Both the boys and girls teams will be introduced and the evening will feature a variety of games, entertainment and prize giveaways. Sneakerheads will have a chance to check out and win a pair of brand new, limited-edition Nike/Aces Kobe IVs. The event, sponsored by Huntington Learning Center, begins at 7 PM with a "Light the Night" walk to benefit Coaches v. Cancer on Arnold Field.
  • Special events this year include Alumni Night (Tuesday, January 26th - pre-game reception for alumni and on-court ceremony honoring Aces legends) Youth Night, (Tuesday, January 12th – all youth league players who wear their jerseys to the game receive free admission) and Aces Night at the Wachovia Center (Friday, January 29th – the Aces will play Garnet Valley at 3 PM prior to the Sixers/Lakers game).
  • Four former Aces will be playing Division 1 basketball season, including Ryan Brooks '06 (Temple), Carl Johnson '08 (Rider), Greg Robbins '09 (Richmond) and Garrett Williamson '06 (Saint Joe's). Other alumni in the college ranks include Eric Barefield '07 (Immaculata), Steve Meehan '08 (Gettysburg) and Harley Williamson '09 (West Chester). Adam Ellison '07 is Kutztown's play-by-play announcer. Matt Lachs '08 (Temple) and Dan Sarnoff '05 (Slippery Rock) are serving as varsity managers.
  • The historic Downs Gym will be the site of most 9th grade and some JV games this season.
  • Gregg Downer enters his 20th season in 2009-10. Last year, he passed Bill Anderson as the all-time wins leader at Lower Merion. His record stands at 362-169 (.682).
  • Lower Merion Basketball was named the "Best Boys Basketball Program" in the Philadelphia region in the September 2009 "Best of Philly Schools" issue of Philadelphia Magazine.
  • The Aces received visits from both LM/NBA alumni this fall. Kobe Bryant '96 worked out in the gym in early October. Jim Brogan '76 met with the team in November.