By Leo Clibanoff '18
Jared Robinson ?18 drilled a corner three off a perfect feed from Darryl Taylor ?19 with less than 11 seconds to play to lift the Aces to an improbable 67-66 comeback victory at Radnor. Steve Payne ?19 led all scorers with 23 points and keyed a wild fourth quarter that featured five threes in the final five minutes, including a four-point play from Matt O?Connor ?19.
The Aces struggled out of the gates on Tuesday, failing to find any offensive rhythm in the first quarter. By the end of the frame, the Aces had dug themselves a nine-point hole, which increased to 13 points early in the second. Playing without the services of Jack Forrest ?19, LM looked out of sync and primed for a letdown after their stirring win over Penncrest.
But Payne put the Aces on his back, rattling off eight points in a row to end the half and cut the Randor lead to three at 28-25.
LM hit a three to open the second half, but every Aces bucket seemed to be matched by a Raiders response. Radnor maintained a small advantage throughout the period and led by as many as seven early in the fourth quarter. Threes by Zack Slogoff ?18 and Harrison Klevan ?18 kept things tight and with the Aces trailing by four with just over two minutes to play, O?Connor nailed a corner three and was fouled; the junior guard sank the free throw to knot the game at 61-61. Radnor then hit consecutive buckets to go up 65-61 and things looked bleak. But Robinson came up with an offensive rebound and found Payne for a three to cut the Raiders lead back to one at 65-64.
The Aces sent Radnor to the foul line on the next possession and the Raiders hit the first free throw, but missed the second, setting up LM?s final offensive sequence. Payne quickly pushed the ball to Darryl Taylor ?19 who drove middle and kicked it to Robinson in the left corner. The senior guard calmly released a high-arcing shot and the ball found nothing but net, giving the Aces only their second lead of the game. LM?s defense held on a desperation three by Radnor at the buzzer and the Aces escaped with the victory.
It was a heck of a finish and an important victory for the Aces in their hunt for a Central League playoff spot. The Aces return to action on Friday at Harriton; tipoff is 8 PM.