After a lengthy layoff from its exit in the Bicentennial Athletic League playoffs, Lower Moreland focused its attention to an opening round District One Class AAA playoff game against Suburban One American Conference opponent Upper Moreland.
Upper Moreland would be the team with the hot start, but Lower Moreland had the strong finish as the second-seeded Lions took down the seven-seeded Golden Bears, 48-41.
"[We came out] like we were hoping,' Upper Moreland coach Brian Corrado said. "They were ready, they were prepared, they were anxious, they wanted to play, they had their energy [and] they channeled it in the right direction.'
Upper Moreland got out to a 16-12 lead after the first quarter, seemingly clicking on all cylinders on both the offensive and defensive ends. Much of the Bears success on both ends stemmed from the play of Kevin McFall. McFall scored a team high 15 points along with owning the boards and controlling the paint particularly on the defensive end.
"He probably averages about 31.5 minutes a game for us,' Corrado said. "I don't know how many blocks he had, he was a monster on the boards, the first half particularly he dominated. I felt like every rebound that went up he got.'
Throughout the game there was a feeling that eventually Lower Moreland was going to make a run. It took until there was a little over three minutes left in the third quarter, but it came. The Lions went on an 8-0 run to close the quarter and continued the momentum into the final frame where Lower Moreland out scored Upper Moreland 15-12. Dickey Rhoads hit three second half three pointers that helped the Lions catch up and then build a lead.
"Come the fourth quarter we really felt like we were in control,' Lower Moreland coach Seth Baron said. "We were getting good shots and we were having some success stopping McFall on the inside.'
After the first quarter, the Lower Moreland defense started to lock down as it forced the Bears into turnovers and allowed them to score only 25 points over the final three periods.
"I had Danny Duffy and Dickey Rhoads pressure their two main ballhandlers and Matt Cerruti and Phil Madden did a great job of constantly making sure they were behind Steph (Stephan Zoubroulis).'
Up next for Lower Moreland will be a District One semifinal date on Wednesday against the three seed Pope John Paul II.
Upper Moreland (41)—Corr 2 0-0 5; Martin 3 0-0 7; Driscoll 1 0-0 3; O'Donnell 2 4-4 9; McFall 4 7-8 15; Trarato 1 0-0 2; Totals 13 11-12 41
Lower Moreland (48)—Leventhal 0 0-0 0; Zoubroulis 3 2-2 8; Madden 1 2-5 4; Duffy 4 2-2 10; Rhoads 6 0-0 17; N. Cerruti 0 0-0 0; M. Cerruti 3 3-3 8; Smolda 0 0-0 0; Fazio 0 0-0 0; Totals 17 8-11 48
Three-point goals: Corr, Martin, Driscoll, O'Donnell, Rhoads 5
Upper Moreland 16 5 12 8—41
Lower Moreland 12 5 14 15—48