District 2 in Boys 6A Quarter-Finals (Scranton vs. Lower Merion)

Written by: on Thursday, March 17th, 2022



March 16, 2002


Aces Play Like Aces


Lower Merion 72, Scranton 44


By Phil T.

BETHLEHEM – It was no secret that Scranton could battle with the best of District 1, defeating West Chester East and Garnet Valley in the opening two rounds of the PIAA 6A Boys’ Tournament.
On Wednesday night at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Scranton went against yet another District 1 school. However, this time they were not facing ‘one of the best’ but rather the back-to-back District 1 Champion, Lower Merion.
Both teams were ready to go for the tip-off, but it would only be Aces who hit the ground running while Scranton faltered and fell behind.  Lower Merion would sprint out to a 12-0 lead and that gap would only widen as the Aces advanced to the semifinals with a 72-44 win.
As Jason Shields lined up for the tip-off, in front stood 6’ 10” Penn State commit Demetrius Lilley. The size difference was noticeable and it would soon be reflected on the scoreboard.
Following the tip, Scranton’s defense held firm and forced the Ace’s shot off the mark, as two players went for the rebound though neither of them realized they both played for Scranton until the ball got jostled out of bounds.
With the free possession, Sam Wright would score with a floater leading to a 12-0 run that set LM up for the rout.
As the Aces were streaking, the Knights’ miscues began adding up.  Within the opening 2:30 of the game, Scranton turned the ball over three times.
Headlined by Sam Brown’s two triples, the Aces would take a double-digit lead before Scranton could find the bottom of the net.  Joshua Williams would eventually get the Knights on the board with an open look in the paint.  Lower Merion would get right back to work with a Sam Wright triple on the ensuing possession.
As the Knights battled to lower the deficit, a triple and a layup from Brown would have the Aces up 20-10 after the first quarter.
AJ Dinterman would get fouled on his shot attempt to start the next frame, but he failed to convert any of his chances. Buckets from Rykeese Cenord and Arvel Chandler would cut the deficit to single-digits but Lower Merion always had a response.
After a quiet opening period, standout Lilley would find his groove as he alone would score the game’s next nine points.  Chandler would end the run with his second triple of the frame, but Lilley was not finished as he sank the last two field-goals of the half, ending up with 16 points at the break and a commanding 37-18 lead for the Aces.
Having a bit of an off-night, Shields, who went 1-4 from the field in the first half, tried to get the Knights rolling with a triple to start the third period.  However, there’s only so much you can do when your opponent is on… and the Aces were ON.
Lower Merion would go on another 12-0 run extending the lead even further.  Chandler would stop the run with a successful trip to the foul line, but the Aces simply picked up where they left off and extended their lead to 30 points, 53-24 with a just over three minutes to play in the third stanza.
With buckets from Shields, Williams, Dinterman and Chandler, the Knights would cut the deficit to under 30 but it was not enough as the game headed for the final period.
With more than five minutes left on the clock and the gap back to 30 points, following Lilley’s second dunk on the night, Scranton pulled their starters with Lower Merion following suit a few minutes later.  The Ace’s reserves would see finish out their 72-44 win.
Lower Merion was led by Demetrius Lilley who finished with an outstanding 30 points and 16 rebounds.  Sam Wright scored 15 points and generated four steals in the victory.  Sam Brown, who got the Aces going with 11 points in the opening period, would only score one more field-goal to finish with 13 points in the contest.
After leading Scranton to back-to-back quarterfinal appearances, seniors Arvel Chandler and Jason Shields would lead their team in scoring. Chandler finished with 13 points and Shields scored 12.
With the victory, Lower Merion advances to the PIAA AAAAAA Boys’ Semifinals where they will face District 12 champions, Roman Catholic.  In last season’s state tournament, the Aces fell to then District 12 Champion, Archbishop Wood, in the semifinal round.








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