CLAYMONT — It wasn’t pretty, but Archmere’s boys basketball team will take it. The Auks persisted despite game-long shooting woes and a few too many turnovers to defeat Conrad, 30-24, on Feb. 15 at the Moglia Fieldhouse.
The win moved the Auks a step closer to the Diamond State Athletic Conference championship. Archmere has one conference game remaining, next Monday against Red Lion. The Auks are undefeated in the DSAC, while Delaware Military Academy has one conference loss — their season opener at Archmere.
Despite the low score, the game didn’t lack for activity. Both teams spent most of the 32 minutes running up and down the floor. The shots were not falling, and the first quarter ended in a 4-4 tie. Conor Udovich hit the Auks’ lone field goal, while the Red Wolves picked up a three-pointer from Jay Pruitt.
Matt Dellose opened the scoring in the second with a field goal, but that was it for the Auks until Michael Acierno made a shot near the end of the half. Red Wolves standout guard Che’ Jackson kept his team close, and his three-point shot with two seconds left in the half gave the visitors an 11-10 halftime lead.
Jackson, who scored all seven of his team’s points in the second, got back to work in the third. The Auks scored on the first possession of the half, and Michael Acierno grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back to put Archmere back on top, but Jackson scored the next five points. He was left alone on the baseline and drained a three, and he followed that with a layup in transition on a long pass from Tyler Pirrung.
The Auks had a couple of possessions that results in three offensive rebounds, but they just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop. That ended when Dellose scored on a 17-foot jumper. The teams traded field goals the rest of the quarter, and the Red Wolved took a 20-18 lead into the final quarter.
Archmere found its longest period of sustained offensive success as the fourth quarter opened, and it turned the tide. Albero made a mid-range jumper that tied the score, followed by a baseline 10-footer by Anthony Mariano that put the hosts on top with six minutes remaining. After another missed shot by the Red Wolves, Albero dished to Udovich, whose pump fake got him the space he needed for an easy layup.
The Auks helped keep Conrad in the hunt by missing four of 10 free throws down the stretch, but Mariano went made all four of his attempts in the closing minutes. The Red Wolves managed just four points in the final quarter.
Mariano had 11 to lead the Auks, who improved to 8-1. They travel to Delmarva Christian on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
Jackson scored 16 of his team’s 24 points. The Red Wolves (7-3) host St. Elizabeth on Wednesday at 5.
All photos by Mike Lang.