Tuesday was not a good night to be the Aces’ opponent. Following a gut-wrenching, double-overtime loss to Roman in the season opener on Saturday, LM was looking to release some serious pent-up frustration. They found their target in the Strath Haven Panthers.
Starting the game on a scorching 20-2 run, the Aces were in control from the get-go and crushed the Panthers by a final score of 75-29. During the first five minutes, the Aces forced ten Panthers turnovers and unleashed a brutally efficient offensive assault marked by a barrage of emphatic dunks from Darryl Reynolds, BJ Johnson, Yohanny Dalembert and Mike Robbins. By the time the dust settled at halftime, LM had scored 50 points – their highest first-half total in more than a decade.
Junior BJ Johnson (16 points, 4 assists) and Mike Robbins (11 points) led a balanced attack that saw all but two players on the roster enter the scoring column. Senior Rick Miller made a big impact in his first game with significant playing time, leading the Aces defense with a team-high 4 steals. Miller, Corey Sherman ’15, Bryan Shapiro ‘13, Baird Howland ’13 and Doug Cotler ’13 scored their first career varsity points.
Perhaps more impressive than the Aces’ hot start was the way they played in the 2nd half, controlling tempo and holding the Panthers to a mere nine points. Intense defense has always been a cornerstone of Gregg Downer’s best teams, and the Aces will need more performances like this to compete at a high level.
The Aces’ next game is their home opener at the Kobe Bryant Gymnasium on Friday at 7:30 vs. Garnet Valley. The Jaguars are 0-3 (0-1), but their first two losses were by a combined 5 points, and they look to continue improving under 2nd year coach Joe Rapczynski.