Add another incredible chapter to the storied Lower Merion/Chester rivalry. Senior Adam Ellison knocked down a game-winning jumper at the buzzer to give the Aces a 49-48 overtime victory against the Clippers at the Jameer Nelson Classic at Widener University last night. The ending and the shot were as improbable as any in recent Aces heart-stopping history. It was Ellison’s first shot from the perimeter all season and it came off a beautiful feed from Carl Johnson who raced the length of the court with just five seconds to play to find his open teammate. Johnson, however, thought he had delivered the ball to junior sharpshooter Steve Meehan.
“I thought it was Steve,” said Johnson, “But as soon as the shot went up I knew it was going in.”
Players and fans streamed onto the court in celebration, a scene that recalled last year’s post-game victory dance in the Aces’ state-semifinals win over Chester at the Palestra. For Ellison, one of only two seniors on this year’s team, it was another highlight in a career that has seen him on the court in a number of clutch moments. As a sophomore, Ellison got his first varsity start in the state playoffs, subbing for the injured Sam Stabert in a last-second win against Central Dauphin. Dan Capkin was the hero that night, when he drilled a buzzer-beater three. Last night, Ellison was the one taking and making the shot — even if it was by accident.
Johnson led all scorers with 15 points, including a pair of free throws to tie the game late in overtime. Senior Eric Barefield scored 13, including a stellar 11-14 performance from the free-throw line. Meehan hit three treys en route to a 12 point, five rebound performance. Ellison (6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 charges) and junior Kevin Escott (3 points) rounded out the scoring. Sophomore Eric Stahler limited Chester’s 6′6 swingman Russell Johnson to 14 points. The 48 points scored by Chester represented a season-low. The game was the Clippers’ first loss.
In the locker room following the game, the Aces celebrated in traditional style, enjoying pizza provided by event producer Scholastic Play-By-Play Network.
Other notes…Though the stakes were smaller this time around, the win was an important gut-check for a young Aces team looking to improve and grow. The win also avenged a controversial close loss by the Aces to Chester on the same court last December….The Aces next play defending PIAA AAA state runner-up Communications Tech at 1 PM on Saturday at Gwynedd Mercy College.