THANK YOU, Aces! Like they've done for the entire season, the Aces left it all on the floor in their final contest, leading through three quarters against state tournament favorite Pocono Mountain West and putting a major scare into the home crowd. But LM's underdog charge ultimately fell just a little short, bringing a remarkable season to a close.
2017 Central League Champs, 21 wins, a 7th straight trip to the state playoffs...buzzer beaters, crazy comebacks, big crowds, big upsets, lifetime memories -- and a group of young men that had the courage to come together and take a stand for something bigger than basketball. The team accomplished all of the goals it set at the start of the season and then some. They become the 11th team in Coach Downer’s 27-year career to garner the trifecta of a league title, 20 wins and state playoff berth. They also extended their state playoff streak to a program-record seven years, the longest active streak among District 1 6A teams.
They did it with a roster laden with underclassmen and five fantastic seniors who led with passion, pride and grace - including Khadafy Bilal, Najja Walker-X, Sean Ryan and four-year varsity players Noah Fennell and Terrell Jones. Noah and Terrell both earned 2017 All-Central League honors and are among a handful of Aces to win at least two league titles and go to states all four years of their careers; their contributions have been enormous as has their growth since freshman year.
The 2016-17 Aces were a team that many people had written off as too small, too young to make a run, especially after a 4-5 start. But they dug deep and delivered, growing up before our eyes and writing their own unique and successful chapter in LM’s storied history. In so doing, they captured the hearts of Aces Nation and brought a little magic into our lives.