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:
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 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.
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).
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