CLAYMONT — Archmere overcame a 15-point run by Delmarva Christian in the third quarter, forcing overtime and edging the Royals, 66-64, on Feb. 14 at Mogila Fieldhouse. The win snapped a two-game Auks losing streak, and they were certainly forced to work for it.
The Auks came out setting a blistering pace on offense, taking a 20-6 lead at one point after outscoring the Royals, 18-2, during one stretch. For the most part, Archmere’s damage took place in the paint, as Chris Albero and Matt Dellose each had six points in the quarter. The outside threat was Matt McCarthy, who mixed in a pair of threes.
The Royals trailed, 20-10, after one, and they shaved one more point off the deficit by halftime, with the Auks ahead, 30-21. After intermission, however, it was a new game.
The third opened with Dontarius Jones driving for a layup, the Royals rebounding an Auks miss, and Jones scoring on a baseline drive to make it 30-25. A blocked shot by Delmarva Christian led to another Jones bucket, this time after an offensive rebound. Jones scored one more time before the Royals took their first lead since early in the first quarter on a corner three-point shot by Loubens Fleurima.
DCS added four more points before McCarthy drained a three-pointer with 1:35 remaining in the third. Those were the Auks’ only points of the stanza, and they entered the final quarter down by three.
Jones helped the Royals to their biggest lead, six points, on a three-point play a few minutes in, but Jon Dearing answered immediately for Archmere with his own old-fashioned three-point play. A steal by the Auks resulted in a free throw from Dearing, cutting the Royals’ lead to 43-41 with 4:37 remaining.
If Archmere was counting on Jones to cool off, they were surely disappointed. The junior nailed a three a minute later, then hit a free throw after taking a bump on his next shot attempt. That put the Royals back up by six with three and a half to go.
After the teams traded field goals, Albero knocked down a triple, and McCarthy made the Royals pay for a turnover with a corner three right in front of the Archmere bench that tied the score at 49. A traveling call on Delmarva Christian gave the ball back to the Auks, and McCarthy connected from the corner again to give the home team its own three-point lead with a minute and change to go.
But any celebration was premature. The Auks had a 54-51 lead, but Gabe Herling tied the score with a wing three with 8.4 seconds to go. The Auks missed on an attempt to win, and the teams headed for an extra four minutes.
McCarthy scored the first five points of the overtime for Archmere, but Jones had a pair of field goals as the Auks held a 59-58 advantage midway through. The Auks turned the ball over, but Albero fixed that by stealing a pass and taking it the other way for a layup and a three-point lead at the 1:35 mark.
Still, this game was far from over. Fleurima tied the score again with a triple, but Albero answered with another layup with a minute left. The final minute included several free throws between the teams and another basket for Jones. The Royals had the ball and a chance to tie or win with 3.3 seconds to go, but the inbounds attempt was high and hit a curtain that hangs above the midcourt line. That went as a turnover, and Archmere was able to run out the final seconds before breathing a sigh of relief.
McCarthy led four Auks in double figures with 24, including six three-pointers. Albero had 19, Dearing finished with 11, and Dellose added 10. Miles Kempski had the team’s other two points. Archmere (10-5) will be at Conrad on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m.
For Delmarva Christian, Jones netted a game-high 31. Herling added 10. The Royals (13-5) will face Worcester Prep (Md.) on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at home.
All photos by Mike Lang.