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The Daily Times' boys basketball blog

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Lower Merion (20-2) assembled the kind of season that makes outsiders salivate.

I had been hearing all year that the Aces were the best competition that Chester (20-0) could see for the District One and PIAA Class AAAA crowns.

Now that I've seen them, I'm convinced all that talk was legit ... because the Aces are legit. Lower Merion, which will play for the Central League championship Saturday night, has the total package: A trio of frontcourt players who will make most high-school forwards tremble and a capable point guard in Jaquan Johnson, who might actually be the Aces' only weakness in a meeting with Chester.

In Tuesday's win over Upper Darby, B.J. Johnson (6-5 junior) had 19 points and three rebounds, Darryl Reynolds (a 6-7 senior seen defending UD's Ralik Wise) totaled 10 points and 14 rebounds and Raheem Hall (6-2 junior) had 10 points. Yohanny Dalembert (6-7 senior) came off the bench for two points and four boards.

Not bad, huh?

“I’ve never had one 6-7 guy, so to have two is quite a luxury," said Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer. "We don’t lose much when we go to the bench, which is the sign of a good ball club."

As for hanging with Chester, though...

"I haven’t seen Chester, but I’m told they don’t have four guys like (Lower Merion)," said Upper Darby coach Bob Miller. "In all we’ve scouted, we have not seen a team with that much size. … We haven’t seen that much. To bring a 6-7 kid off the bench is good."

Added Downer: “Of course, every journey eventually would have to go through Chester. They’re just phenomenal, playing at a national level. We just take it one step at a time: win games, win the Central League, go to districts, be competitive, make states. That’s how we look at it."

(Times staff photo / ROBERT J. GURECKI)

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