Lower Merion continued its torrid streak on Tuesday night, easily beating Church Farm, 81-52, in the Jameer/Pete Nelson Philly.com/Rally Classic at Lower Merion.
Aces guard BJ Johnson led all players with 26 points, going 8 for 10 from the field and a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line.
Three other Aces finished in double figures: Raheem Hall with 17, Darryl Reynolds with 11, and reserve forward Yohanny Dalembert, brother of former 76er Samuel Dalembert, with 14 off the bench.
Ten of Dalembert's points came in the first half when Reynolds was relegated to the bench with foul trouble.
The win extends Lower Merion's win streak to six games after it dropped its season opener to Roman Catholic by three points, in overtime, on Dec. 10. Since, the Aces have made a habit of blowing out opponents. Before Tuesday, their average margin of victory was 27.2 points, which they bested by nearly two points against the Griffins.
The Griffins (4-1) were competitive through a quarter and a half, but Lower Merion began to pull away midway through the second quarter.
"We got a couple of spurts," Aces coach Gregg Downer said. "A six-point game became 12, 12 became 15, and they were never able to make it any tighter."
At halftime, the Aces led by 14. In the third quarter, the margin swelled to 24. In the fourth, it ballooned to a game-high 33. With three minutes to play, Lower Merion (6-1) sat its top rotation guys and emptied the bench.
"They're obviously talented. They're obviously one of the better teems in [Class AAAA]," Church Farm coach Marc Turner said. "We didn't play well. I don't know how much of that was LM and how much of that was us, so I'll say it was LM."
Johnson, a 6-foot-5 junior, paced the Aces all night, scoring 16 before halftime. He added six rebounds, two steals, and a block. His greatest contribution, however, was the points his silky lefthanded jumper yielded. Two of his eight field goals came from beyond the three-point arc.
"My teammates just look for me to score. So when they give me the ball, I try and knock it down," said Johnson, a wide smile sprawled across his face. "I try to use my length, because I'm so big. And with my jump shot, I get so high off the ground."
The Griffins actually beat Lower Merion twice last offseason in a couple of summer-league games. They came into Tuesday's game on the heels of a 10-day holiday layoff, which might have contributed to the team's 25 turnovers.
What also might have contributed to that high total was the Aces' superior size and athleticism. They blocked 10 shots, led by Justin McFadden's three snuffs.
"We mixed up our defense and chased them off the three-point line," Downer said. "They have some guys that can make threes, and that was one of our check points, to chase them off the perimeter. . . . We were just active."
Church Farm hit five three-pointers, but three of them came in the latter stages of the fourth with the game well in hand.
Howard Sellars dropped a team-high 21 points (three three-pointers) for Church Farm, but went scoreless in the third quarter.
Church Farm 16 13 11 12 – 52
Lower Merion 24 19 20 18 – 81
CF: Michael Mohamed 3, Aondofa Anyam 7, Mlynue Sellars 2, Doolun Anyam 5, Nolan Swiderski-Soto 8, Howard Sellars 21, Larry Cermak 6
LM: Bryce Williamson 6, Mike Robbins 4, Justin McFadden 3, Darryl Reynolds 11, Raheem Hall 17, BJ Johnson 26, Yohanny Dalembert 14.