Lower Moreland ramps up pace, runs over Delco Christian in BAL quarters

LOWER MORELAND — At halftime, the Lower Moreland boys basketball was firmly on a roll.

But the Lions knew they could do better, especially on the defensive end. A few tweaks, a couple of changes and the second half was as dominant as any the Lions have played this year.

Lower Moreland ran early and often, spread the ball around, defended like crazy and pretty much shot the lights out as it rolled over Delco Christian 92-56 in the quarterfinals of the Bicentennial Athletic League tournament Wednesday night.

“We weren’t happy with our first-half defense, we gave up 38 and that’s not characteristic of what we do,’ Lions coach Seth Baron said. “But that was about as perfect a second half as we could have, I was really happy with that. I had us for 23 assists, we like to share the ball and the shooters were knocking it down.’

Lower Moreland hit nine 3-pointers and had four players reach double-figuers. Guard Danny Duffy led the way with 21 points and nine assists, also collecting six rebounds and four steals. Matt Cerruti had 16 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals to complement Duffy.

Both guards were relentless on both sides, and the entire team showcased its level of conditioning as it just kept running at the Knights.

“We’ve been playing that way all season,’ Duffy said. “We knew we wanted to play that way and we practice to get in shape to play like that.’

Lower Moreland erupted out of the gate, going up 18-7 at one point and leading 24-18 after a quarter. The Lions kept pouring it on in the second frame, dropping 29 more on Delco to take a 53-38 lead into the half.

But the 38 points against were troublesome. Delco had found a way to take advantage of Lower Moreland’s aggressiveness by leaking a player out when the Lions went to crash the offensive glass.

Reserve Danny Browne played the role perfectly for Delco, ending with a game-high 23 points, 18 of those coming in the first half. Baron saw what Delco was up to and figured out an adjustment for it.

“They were leaking one player so we figured the shooter and the next closet guy would get back as fast as they could to stop their break,’ Cerruti said. “When we did that, our fast break picked up even more. Stopping their fast break ended up helping ours.’

If Lower Moreland was able to slow the ball up, there wasn’t much Delco could do.

“Once we got set in the halfcourt, they had trouble scoring on us,’ Duffy said.

The plan worked wonders in the third quarter. Lower Moreland went on a 12-0 run to open the stanza, holding Delco scoreless until 3:23 remained in the quarter.

The run encompassed everything the Lions pride themselves on. Duffy penetrated and assisted, Jake Fazio and Phill Madden grabbed offensive boards and Cerruti got out running when Duffy got a steal, leading to an uncontested hoop. The secondary break and trailers were a key piece to Lower Moreland’s scoring output, which Duffy said he believe was the first 90-point outing in school history.

Cerruti and Duffy attributed their style of play to terrific team chemistry, guys picking each other up when it was called for. On one sequence, Cerruti looked like he had a steal and sold out for it, but the Delco player somehow escaped, putting the Knights in a 5-on-4.

While Cerruti got right up and scrambled back, his teammates prevented the ball from getting pushed inside and the possession ended in a Lions stop.

“We love to share the ball and we have great team chemistry, we all play together in the summer,’ Duffy said. “That’s how we like to play, we play team basketball.’

Turning a 15-point lead into a 27-point margin had the Lions flying.

“We felt the shift in momentum,’ Cerruti said. “Even our bench, they were getting into it a lot and giving us a lot of energy to push the tempo even more and try to run it down their throats.’

“We felt like, because we’re in really good condition, we wore them down,’ Duffy said. “They were probably a little tired coming into that second half.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply