If the home opener is a sign of things to come, then buckle your seatbelts.
Zack Magill '16 drilled a three-pointer with 14 seconds left in triple overtime to lift the Aces to a heart-pounding 62-61 victory against Penncrest on Tuesday night at Bryant Gymnasium.
Magill's shot capped an epic night of high school hoops that saw 21 lead changes in the second half. No team led by more than six points. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Aces and Lions traded game-tying threes on four consecutive possessions. All told, LM shot 11-23 from behind the arc, including a torrid 10-13 in the final two quarters and overtime.
Terrell Jones '17 led LM with a career-high 27 points and came up clutch with four second-half treys, including one that banked home in the second overtime. Noah Fennell '16 added 14 points and four three-pointers of his own, including a game tying three in regulation and another that gave LM its first lead at 58-57 in the second overtime after LM trailed by four with less than 90 seconds on the clock.
KJ Helton '16, Magill (6 points), Jeremy Horn '16 (4 points), Dion Harris '17 (3 points) and Eli Needle '16 (1 point) rounded out the scoring. Helton's performance was particularly gritty. Just days removed from a leg injury and questionable for the game, the senior came off the bench to give LM a lift on both sides of the ball.
It was a true team effort, with every member of the squad making a contribution. Harris continued his fine free throw shooting and came up with a huge steal to help give the Aces the ball back with a chance to tie at the end of the second overtime. Horn came up with a big block at the end of the first overtime. Needle nailed a big free throw in the final frame to set up Magill's game-winner. The Aces bench was energized all night, erupting with every amazing play and providing a spark throughout the contest.
In the end, the Aces got a big shot -- and a big stop in the final 14 seconds to give an elated Dawg Pound a reason to finally exhale. And they did, with the season's first court storming.
Hats off to a very talented and hungry Penncrest team that countered every Aces punch with a punch of their own. Tuesday was an amazing high school basketball game played by two deserving teams. Triple overtimes are certainly rare, but with a full season ahead and a Central League that is as balanced as ever, it would be wise to keep those seatbelts fastened.