Lower Merion received a career-high 18 points and a couple of key late rebounds from senior Darryl Reynolds and some excellent team shooting and held off a charging St. Joseph's Prep on Friday night, 71-61, in the Jameer Nelson philly.com/Rally Classic at Widener University.
The 6-foot-7 center's previous career high was 12 points.
The Aces had entered the game with two tough losses in eight games, and coach Gregg Downer was pleased with the way they responded when the Hawks, who had only two one-point leads early in the game, came back from second-half deficits of as many as 15 points. The Hawks (5-2) got within one point with 3 minutes, 59 seconds to play.
"This was gut-check time," Downer said. "We had two very close losses, one in overtime to Roman [Catholic] and the other by three points to Emmaus last week. This was a game of personal growth for us. I also thought we did a good job at the foul line.
The Aces did a good job from both the line and the floor. They shot 24 for 48 from the field and 21 for 30 from the foul line.
They were 15 for 24 from the floor in the first quarter when they raced to a 25-18 lead. The Hawks, who missed four of their first five shots, were 22 for 58 (38 percent) from the floor. They were 5 for 9 from the line.
"I was impressed by St. Joe's," Downer said. "They have three great players, and role players know their jobs. We wanted to control their top players."
Miles Overton (18), Steve Vasturia (17), and Kevin Oberlies (12) and accounted for 47 of the Hawks' points.
With the Hawks making only one of their first five shots, Lower Merion shot out to a 7-2 lead. The Prep rallied to take its only other lead, 8-7, with less than three minutes gone in the game.
The Aces outscored the Hawks, 12-0, over the next four minutes to take a 19-8 lead. They went up by 33-23 on a basket by Reynolds. Reynolds received offensive help from Raheem Hall (14) and B.J. Johnson (15).
After falling behind by 51-39 on a bucket by Reynolds, St. Joe's Prep moved to within 55-51 on a basket by Overton with 4:36 to play.
A pair of free throws by Overton later made it 63-59, but the Aces converted 8 of 12 from the foul line to help seal it.
"I think we did a pretty good job when we needed to," Reynolds said.
St. Joseph's Prep 18 8 16 19 – 61
Lower Merion 25 14 12 20 – 71
SJP: Steve Vasturia 17, Kevin Oberlies 12, Gene Williams 4, Tom Stewart 3, Kyle Thompson 2, P.J. Kelly 5, Miles Overton 18.
LM: JaQuan Johnson 7, Mike Robbins 8, Justin McFadden 7, Darryl Reynolds 18, Raheem Hall 14, B.J. Johnson 15, Yohanny Dalembert 2.