Last night, the Aces proved they've come a long way since a 20-point loss to Upper Darby in December. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for payback. Despite a valiant effort in a hostile gym, the Aces fell to the Royals 66-62 in a feisty battle between league rivals. The loss drops the Aces to 12-5 (7-5 Central) and snaps an eight-game streak of holding opponents to fewer than 48 points. Upper Darby, after completing its first season sweep of Lower Merion in four years, moves to 15-2 and 10-2 in league play.
The Aces received a strong performance from senior guard Eric Barefield (14 points), who led the team with a career-high 8 assists. In the absence of backcourt mate Carl Johnson, Barefield did his part in locking the opponent's top scorer, limiting the Royals' talented senior guard Clinton Cole to nine points. Despite foul trouble throughout much of the game, sophomore Greg Robbins led all scorers with 19 points, including three treys. Steve Meehan (14 points, 5 rebounds), Eric Stahler (6 points), Harley Williamson (4 points), Kevin Escott (3 points, 4 rebounds) and Adam Ellison (2 points) rounded out the Aces attack.
The Aces led 31-30 at halftime, but fell behind by seven late in the fourth before mounting a furious last minute comeback. A steal by Williamson and layup by Barefield, followed by a three from Meehan cut the lead to two with less than a minute to play. The Aces were unable to capitalize on a missed Upper Darby shot and were forced to foul, sending Cole to the line for a one-and-one. He missed, but the Royals regained possession on a turnover and pushed the lead to four on two made free throws. With 14 seconds left, Williamson scored a bucket to narrow the gap to 64-62, but the Royals sealed the game with two more free throws. For the night, the Aces were 3-9 from the charity stripe. The Royals shot 8-12 from the line.
The Aces take the court three times this week, including home games on Tuesday v. Haverford and a Coaches v. Cancer contest with Conestoga on Friday. Tip-off for both games is 7:30 PM. On Sunday (1/28), the Aces meet District 1 power Pennsbury @ Cardinal O'Hara, part of a Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic. Tip-off is 12:30 PM.