By Sam Oshtry '19
The Aces earned a solid win Tuesday night, beating Ridley -- the defending Central League champs -- in convincing fashion, 71-55. It was LM's first win over the Green Raiders since 2014.
Ridley came out firing, jumping to a 20-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. The first-half featured high volume scoring from both teams, with the Aces and Green Raiders trading baskets in transition and struggling to get half-court stops. LM used heavy pressure to force several Ridley turnovers late in the second quarter, igniting a 10-2 run that was capped by a Matt O'Connor '19 three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer. The Aces led 40-34 at the break despite seven first-half three-pointers by the Green Raiders.
The Aces came out of halftime determined to extend their lead and put the game out of reach. LM upped its pressure, limiting Ridley to just 21 second half points and forcing seven turnovers in the backcourt, keying easy transition points. An eight-point third quarter lead quickly reached double digits in the fourth thanks to relentless attacks on the rim by Steve Payne '19 and Terrell Jones '17 and disciplined half-court defense.
Jones finished with a team-high 24 points. Payne scored 16 points and Jack Forrest ?19 and Noah Fennell ?17 had nine points apiece. LM also received key contributions from O?Connor, Jared Robinson ?18, Darryl Taylor ?19, Khadafy Bilal ?17, Harrison Klevan '18 and Najja Walker-X ?17.
This was a much-needed win for the Aces against a team that has had tremendous success in league play over the past two seasons. LM dictated tempo throughout and appeared to value their home court advantage after nearly two weeks without a contest in the KBG.
The Aces return to action Friday night in the KBG at 7:30 PM against Harriton in the 3rd Annual Hope Classic.