The Aces opened their 2012-2013 Central League schedule last night at Bryant Gymnasium with a convincing 67-35 win over the Fords of Haverford High. After their loss to nationally ranked Neumann-Goretti in the season opener, the Aces were anxious to break into the win column, and jumped out to an early lead and were never headed.
With Baird Howland 13, Jule Brown 15 and Bryan Shapiro 13 getting their first varsity starting assignments, the Aces raced to a 20-1 first quarter advantage. Relying on their usual relentless ball pressure and riding the back of BJ Johnson 13, who tossed in 8 points in the opening frame, the Aces created a margin far too deep for the Fords to overcome. The Aces forced 6 early Haverford turnovers, converting most of them into easy baskets. When the Fords did get occasional scoring opportunities, the Lower Merion defense was there to subdue the attack. A breakaway chance for the Fords to get an uncontested layup was thwarted when Johnson launched himself for a clean block at the backboard. An alley-oop pass from Raheem Hall 13 to Johnson for a resounding dunk ignited the Dawg Pound, and that play seemed to deflate the Fords. Halftime arrived with the Aces leading 37-13, as Johnson had 15 points as the teams went to their locker rooms.
The Fords made a modest run in the third quarter, tossing in 4 three-point baskets, but they were unable to stop the Aces path to the bucket. JaQuan Johnson 14 continued his assault on the basket, and Yohanny Dalembert 13 made his muscular presence felt underneath. The game concluded with both teams reserves seeing plenty of game action.
The Aces were led by the firm of Johnson & Johnson, with BJ tallying 21 points and JaQuan adding 12 of his own. Dalembert aided the cause with 10 points, and Raheem Hall added 8. Baird Howland tossed in 7, and Corey Sherman 15 nailed a clean trey for his 3 points. Jule Brown had 4 points, and Bryan Shapiro broke into the scoring column with 2.
The wide margin allowed many of the Aces reserves to see significant minutes, as Doug Cotler 13 and Emery Shiffraw 13 were able to join the fun. Rasool Smith 13, Matt Wasson 13 and Steve Pendleton 15 saw their first varsity minutes as members of the Aces, and they certainly will remember that moment forever.
The Aces continue their Central League slate with a game against the improved Strath Haven Panthers on Friday night at Bryant Gymnasium, with tip-off at 7pm.