By Cynthia Casciola '22
In one of the most electric games in Bryant Gym history, LM battled a loaded Coatesville squad wire-to-wire on Friday, but fell 75-69 on a late Red Raiders surge.
Before the contest began, Coach Downer took the mic at half court to welcome Coatesville and acknowledge the storied history between the two programs, highlighted by the legendary matchups between Kobe Bryant and Rip Hamilton in the mid-90’s.
Friday night’s game was a worthy redux of those epic playoff contests, with both squads exchanging heavyweight blows for 32 minutes. In many ways it was LM’s most surprising performance of the season, as the young Aces countered nearly every punch thrown by a veteran Coatesville squad that is a strong state contender. Although it was “just” a seeding game, the atmosphere couldn’t have been more charged, with a standing-room only crowd hanging on every move and shot.
By luck of the District seeding formula, the game was played at LM, but both fan bases were well-represented. No team led by more than four points through the first three quarters and the game was knotted in a 51-51 tie heading into the fourth. With less than three minutes to play, Demetrius Lilley ‘22 had what appeared to be a layup and drawn foul to give the Aces a chance to take their first lead of the period, but the play was called a charge. Coatesville converted on the other end and did just enough to keep LM from recapturing the lead, sealing things on late free throws.
Despite the loss, the Aces (19-8) enter the state playoffs with confidence and have shown their mettle against top competition. States begin next Saturday - time and location TBD.