BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — Archmere turned defense into offense over and over in the first half, opening up a lead at Concord, and the Auks closed out the regular season with a 49-31 win over the Raiders on Feb. 21.
With the score tied at 4, the Auks began committing theft on a regular basis. The first one began to Chris Albero, who picked off a pass a midcourt and went in for a layup. After a Concord timeout, P.J. Blessington took his turn. He stepped in front of a pass and converted that into a twisting layup. Matt McCarthy beat the buzzer with Archmere’s lone three to make it 14-8 after a quarter.
The Raiders’ Miles Smith cut the deficit to two points on consecutive field goals, but the Auks burned a minute off the clock before McCarthy deked a defender and scored inside. Archmere’s shooting cooled for a few minutes, but they did a good job of controlling the boards and limiting the Raiders’ chances on offense.
Later in the second, the Auks returned to their thieving ways. Albero added another transition layup, and McCarthy made two free throws after pilfering a Concord pass. The lead was eight at the half.
The Auks extended the lead to 12 in the first three minutes of the second half. McCarthy got two high-percentage points after a steal, and after grabbing Concord’s inbounds pass, Albero drained a mid-range baseline jumper. When given the chance to set up their offense, the Auks kept the ball on the perimeter until a lane opened up, and they scored most of their points down low.
Archmere got most of their fourth-quarter points from the free throw line as the Raiders stayed close enough to take a chance fouling their opponent. The Auks, however, were nearly perfect from the stripe, and they made the short trip back to their campus with the win.
McCarthy had a game-high 25 points, including 12 of 15 from the free throw line. Albero added 14. Archmere (13-7) finished the regular season with six wins in their final seven games and should hear their name called on Friday when the state tournament bracket is released.
Jalen Able led Concord with 9. The Raiders (6-12) finish their season on Wednesday at home against St. Georges at 4:45 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.