UPPER DARBY – The play that Upper Darby dialed up to start the second quarter Tuesday afternoon served a dual purpose.
On the one hand, senior guard Nadir Myers stood on 998 career points. The sooner he reached 1,000 points, the better for the Royals’ collective focus, coach Bob Miller knew. But after spotting Ridley the first 10 points of a Central League matchup and going the first 3:50 of play without scoring, the hosts would’ve greatly appreciated any easy offense at that point.
The elemental inbounds play – a down screen to free Myers for a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the right corner – accomplished what so much of Myers’ voluminous offense does: It advanced not just his personal tallies but translated into wining basketball for the Royals.
Myers scored 30 points in an exemplary personal showing that included his 1,000th career point, helping Upper Darby shake its early struggles and rout Ridley, 82-60.
Myers, a senior guard, has spent the last two years at Upper Darby. He averaged 18.8 points per game last year and entered Tuesday at 20.4 ppg this season. He played his sophomore season at Martin Luther King High after spending his freshman season at People for People Charter in Philadelphia, a non-PIAA school. After his sophomore season, he returned home to Upper Darby, where he’d attended middle school at Beverly Hills.
“It means a lot of to me to know that I was good enough to get in there and keep getting better through the years, just keep progressing on my game and making my teammates better,” Myers said. “ … It feels good to know that I grew up around here. To come back here and try to win at my home school and play with my friends I’ve known since seventh grade, it feels better. It just feels more comfortable.”
Tuesday was the second highest tally of his Upper Darby career, after hitting Ridley for 32 points in the finale last year.
Myers is just the second player to reach 1,000 points at Upper Darby, joining Mark McCarthy (1,098).
At no point Tuesday did Myers’ personal goal seem at odds with the greater good for Upper Darby..UD’s first basket came off a Myers assist, a Khysir Slaughter triple to get within 10-3. Myers’ basket while being fouled capped a 6-0 run late in the first to get UD to 16-15, with Lovo Mulbah hitting a triple to put the Royals up for good to end the frame. Myers hit a pair of threes 3s in the second quarter, UD putting the game in hand with a 19-9 edge.
If a 37-25 margin at half was too close for comfort, Myers nailed four field goals in a 12-2 run to open the frame, ballooning the lead to 22 points. He hit his first five shots of the second half.
Myers shot 12-for-19 from the field, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range. Collectively, the Royals (7-3, 2-3 Central) shot 24-for-32 (75 percent) on 2-pointers. Sixteen of their 33 field goals were assisted.
Yassir Joyner tallied 17 points plus five assists. Mulbah had 10 points and a team-best four steals. Slaughter paired 15 points with three assists. Niymire Brown struggled from the field but augmented eight points with seven rebounds and four blocks.
Together, the group contributed to 21 Ridley turnovers, 13 in the middle two quarters.
“It gets everybody moving, gets us going in fast transition,” Myers said of the defense. “Everybody likes easy layups.”
The effort from Ridley (3-4, 0-4), like the season as a whole, was stop start. Fifteen Green Raiders played, and 10 scored. But few sustained a presence for long.
The one exception was Luke Showalter, who assembled a sneaky triple-double bid. He scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished eight assists. The big, working out of the high post, vexed UD’s defense by repeatedly finding cutters in behind.
“Luke is a big impact,” said guard Seth Sizemore, who tallied 13 points. “We like to draw a lot of plays towards him. He can drive well and finish well.”
Myers orchestration – he had three assists and two steals – helped keep everyone in gear on the UD side, the Royals matching their win total from last year. For a team that gets almost all of its scoring from its starting quintet, Myers’ ability to keep everyone in tune is vital. And when his shot is flowing like it was Tuesday, that means it’s time to call his own number.
“Everybody having trust in each other,” he said. “They’ve got trust in me coming off the screen. He knows I can hit the shot, so I’m open, he gives it to me, and it’s the same way for everybody.”
Also in the Central League:
Marple Newtown 56, Harriton 44 >> Matt Gardler scored 28 points, including a 6-for-7 performance at the line in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Gardler added eight rebounds. Corrado Fischetti added 15 points for the Tigers.
In the Catholic League:
Cardinal O’Hara 60, La Salle 44 >> Aasim Burton hit three 3-pointers on the way to 15 points as the ions opened Catholic League play with a road win.
Pearse McGuinn tallied 14 points, Izaiah Pasha added 13 points and Josh Coulanges contributed 10 points.
In nonleague action:
Chester Charter Scholas Academy 61, La Academia 36 >> Jayden Williams paired 18 points with seven assists as the Sabers (8-1) held La Academia to just 14 points after halftime.
Kevin Miller added 19 points and five rebounds for CCSA.
Haverford School 68, Bartram 37 >> Duke Cloran paced a balanced attack with 13 points. Luke Rasmussen and Silas Graham contributed 11 points each. Manny Butts tallied 10 points and Billy Rayer pitched in with nine for the Fords.
Overbrook 79, Chester 73 >> The Clippers made a late run, but a 26-12 first-quarter deficit was too much to overcome.
Breilynd White led Chester with 19 points. Dominic Toy added 18 points and T.C. Cobb 15.
Jayden Robinson tallied a game-high 22 points for the Hilltoppers.
Cristo Rey 51, Episcopal Academy 40 >> Kevin McCarthy scored 14 points, but the Churchmen couldn’t get much going on Monday. TJ Lamb added eight points.