On paper, the Aces had all the ingredients they needed for a win on Wednesday night. They shot better than 50% from the field, nailed 40% of their threes, shot a respectable 73% from the foul line, turned the ball over just ten times and even held a slight edge on the glass. But as we’ve learned over the years, there’s no failsafe formula for victory -- no guarantees. Some nights you simply have to tip your cap to a deserving opponent who plays lights out. On Wednesday night, that opponent was the Haverford Fords.
Haverford drilled eight threes en route to a 60-57 come-from-behind victory over LM to open the Central League season. It was Haverford’s first victory against the Aces in five seasons and the first league loss for LM in two years.
JaQuan Johnson ’14 (17 points), Justin McFadden ’14 (14 points, 5 rebounds) and Corey Sherman ’15 (11 points) paced the Aces attack. Jule Brown added six points and a team-high six assists. Steve Pendleton ’15 (5 points), KJ Helton ’16 (3 points) and Oliver Henry ’14 (1 point) rounded out the scoring.
LM exploded out of the gates on a 9-0 run and controlled tempo for most of the first half before Haverford began to chip away. By the end of the second quarter, the gap had narrowed to two points. Every time the Aces seemed primed to pull away, the Fords knocked down a big three or made a stop.
Haverford took its first lead of the game late in the third quarter and drilled three timely threes in the fourth to counter every Aces surge. Haverford played confident and carefree down the stretch, while the Aces played not to lose – understandable given the pressure of a record 43-game league-winning streak. And yet, despite falling behind by eight late in the final frame, the Aces roared back to close within two in the final seconds – much to the delight of a very impressive and vocal Dawg Pound that made the trip on a school night. But it was one last valiant effort in a game that simply wasn’t meant to be. Hats off to the Fords -- a tough, talented unit -- for a hard-earned, well-deserved win.
Wednesday night’s game was a reality check and evidence of the strength and depth of the Central League this year. At some level, it may also have lifted a weight off the current Aces’ shoulders. This a new team that will need to write its own story. With all due respect to recent glories, no path worth taking was blazed on someone else’s coattails.
Up next for LM is a visit to Strath Haven on Friday night. Tip-off is 7 PM.