The Aces blew away Scranton on Friday night 84-50 in the featured game of the Kobe Bryant Classic at Lower Merion.
Billed as a rematch of last year's state playoff thriller in which LM scored a dramatic overtime victory over the Scarlet Knights, the contest figured to be another taught battle between two highly-rated, state-caliber teams. That notion ended about ten seconds into the game, as BJ Johnson '13 drilled a deep three to give the Aces a lead they would never relinquish.
LM outscored Scranton 22-13 in the first quarter, extended the lead to 13 at halftime, then blew open the game in the third quarter with a 24-4 run punctuated by two treys from Jaquan Johnson '14 and a thunderous jam by Darryl Reynolds '14.
When the dust settled, the Aces were up 70-38 and the Dawg Pound was chanting "Warm up the bus!"
JaQuan Johnson earned game MVP honors, finishing with 16 points, 4 steals and 4 assists. Scranton had no answer for the speedy sophomore, who set the tone early with his high octane play in transition and several aggressive finishes at the rim. Raheem Hall '13 and BJ Johnson led all scorers with 18 points apiece. Reynolds finished with 13 points and 4 blocks. Yohanny Dalembert '13 (7 points), Bryce Williamson '12 (6 points), Justin McFadden '14 (4 points) and Corey Sherman '15 (2 points) also entered the scoring column. The 84 points scored by LM was a season high.
Both teams faced adversity heading into the game. LM was playing without injured starter Mike Robbins '12, while Scranton was missing starting guard Karlon Quiller. As the evening wore on, Scranton's star swingman Terry Turner succumbed to flu-like symptoms, remaining off the floor during the entire second half. Scranton faced an uphill battle from the get-go. The Aces were locked in, particularly on the defensive end, and played some of their most inspired basketball of the season.
As Johnson was called to receive his post-game MVP trophy at center court, he turned to the Aces bench and motioned to his teammates to join him for the honor. It was a fitting moment on a night of unselfish, team-first play.
Game Notes: Prior to the game the Aces honored alumnus Jonathan Gray '06, who recently returned from an 11-month deployment in Afghanistan with the 1067th Transportation Company of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Gray, a key member of the Aces' 2006 state championship team, received an extended standing ovation from the crowd...In earlier games at the Bryant Gymnasium on Saturday, Friends Central beat Penn Wood 74-67, Holy Ghost topped Harriton 49-35, South Kent, CT beat Westtown 65-60 and Archbishop Carroll knocked off Neshaminy 60-46.