CLAYMONT — Archmere and Wilmington Friends played a game of runs when their boys basketball teams met Jan. 30 at Moglia Fieldhouse, and when there was nothing but zeroes left on the clock, the Auks were on top. They defeated the Quakers, 57-55, in an entertaining nonconference affair.
The fun started on the opening possession when Robert Tattersall drove to the basket for a hoop and was fouled. His free throw put the Quakers on top, 3-0, just seconds into the game.
Bodies were flying all over the court, but the points were a bit slower in arriving. Chris Albero got the Auks on the board for the first time with a shot two and a half minutes into the game., and he tied the game shortly thereafter with a three-pointer. Friends’ big weapon in the quarter was forward Patrick McKenzie, who bodied his way inside for eight points in the first as the visitors took a 17-14 lead after one.
Friends scored the first four points of the second to open up a seven-point advantage, but Archmere found the scoring touch. Albero hit another triple, followed by a baseline jumper for Michael Acierno and a transition layup for Jonathan Dearing, who was fouled on his shot attempt. Dearing’s free throw ran the Auks’ point streak to eight and put them ahead, 22-21.
McKenzie made two free throws to end the run and briefly put Friends back on top, but the rest of the quarter belong to the Auks. They scored seven in a row before two free throws from Friends’ Andres Pardo with just a few seconds to go in the half. The Auks raced the ball upcourt, and Archmere’s Matt Dellose hit a 17-foot baseline jumper and was fouled with just .1 to go until the half. His free throw made it 32-25 at the break.
McKenzie spearheaded a spurt at the beginning of the third to pull the Quakers to within a point. The Archmere lead was down to a point at 36-35 when the Auks went on another run, this time for seven points, sparked by a short field goal by Dellose. Their lead was 47-39 after three, but the game was far from over.
In fact, the Quakers scored the first eight points of the final stanza. The run started with two Tattersall free throws, followed by a three-pointer from McKenzie. Peter Erskine tied the score with an old-fashioned three-point play with 6:01 to go. Kieran Udovich ended the streak and put the Auks back on top when he split two defenders and laid the ball off the glass. McKenzie retied the game with two free throws.
Albero rose to the occasion after that, hitting a 12-footer, then picking up a steal and a hoop for a four-point advantage. The lead was 54-51 after an Anthony Mariano free throw with 39.5 seconds remaining.
After a Quakers timeout, McKenzie struck again. His three-pointer from the right wing knotted the score again. But Albero answered, curling around a defender and knocking one down from just inside the free throw line. McKenzie his one of two free throws with 5.6 seconds left, but the second missed and was rebounded by Udovich. He got it to Mariano, who was fouled with 2.6 left.
Mariano made the first attempt, but his second bounced off the back rim. Pardo grabbed it and sent it to Andrew McKenzie, whose prayer from beyond halfcourt bounced off the backboard as the buzzer sounded.
Albero led the Auks with 18 points, while Dellose and Mariano each contributed 11. The Auks (5-1) play the fourth of seven straight at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Tatnall, weather permitting.
Patrick McKenzie scored 27 for the Quakers, while Tattersall had 15. Friends (1-4) will visit Delaware Military Academy on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.