There was a storm brewing on Tuesday night at the Bryant Gymnasium, one that the Penncrest Lions simply could not avoid.
An ark might not have even saved Noah from the deluge.
The rain began with BJ Johnson '13, who connected on two first quarter treys to give the Aces their first double-digit lead at 19-8.
Then, a loud crack of thunder. Justin McFadden '14 launched himself into a passing lane, stole the ball and raced downcourt for a massive, two-handed jam just as Penncrest appeared ready to claw back into the game.
Lighting was soon to follow, in the form of the electric JaQuan Johnson '14, whose supercharged defense stunned Penncrest's guards into submission in a 17-5 second quarter.
Next, it was Raheem Hall '13, spinning like a tornado through the Lions defense, leaving his opponents waving in the wind as he touched down at the rim for six straight third quarter points.
And then there was Yohanny Dalembert '13, like an angry Zeus patrolling the sky - unleashing his wrath on any shot that came his way en route to a game-high six blocks. Dalembert punctuated a 10-0 fourth quarter run with a soaring slam in traffic.
And it didn't stop - dunks, threes, layups, assists, rebounds, floor burns and high fives came in a never-ending torrent from every Ace who took the floor -- from senior Baird Howland's tenacious traps and energy on the offensive glass to sophomore Jule Brown's oh-so-close poster attempt over the Penncrest defense in the final frame. It just kept coming.
Through it all, there was the Dawg Pound -- jumping, chanting, splashing, soaking in a frenzied playoff rain dance.
When the storm was over, the Aces had earned a third straight state playoff berth in memorable fashion, overwhelming league rival Penncrest 75-42. LM outscored the Lions in every quarter and played with a passion and energy that had been missing in the last two games. It was classic Aces basketball -- gritty, unselfish, relentless -- victorious.
Time will tell if the Aces' performance on Tuesday is a portent of things to come. In the meantime, opponents may want to consider flood insurance.
The Aces return to action Friday night at 7 PM in the Bryant Gymnasium for a District 1 Quarterfinals match-up with Coatesville.
LM: 21 17 17 20 - 75
P: 18 5 10 9 - 42
Doug Cotler 2, Yohanny Dalembert 16, Raheem Hall 12, Baird Howland 5, B.J. Johnson 13, JaQuan Johnson 11, Justin McFadden 13, Steve Pendleton 2, Bryan Shapiro 1