CLAYMONT — Archmere’s boys basketball team took a 7-4 lead on Wilmington Friends on Feb. 9 when Charlie Malloy hit a three-point shot with about five minutes left in the first half. The Auks came within a few inches of losing that lead on a last-second shot by the Quakers, but the ball rattled off the front rim, and the Auks held of for a 35-33 victory at Moglia Fieldhouse.
The Auks led Friends by seven points with just 1:59 to go after running more than a minute off the clock and hitting one of two free throws. But the Quakers started making shots, and Archmere kept going one for two from the free throw line, and that advantage steadily dipped.
Robby Tattersall followed a Quakers miss with a put back to make it 29-24, and after an Auks free throw, the Quakers snagged a steal and turned that into two transition points. Alex MacWilliams made two free throws, but Friends answered almost immediately with a baseline layup, cutting the Auks’ lead to 32-28.
The lead was still four after a Chris Albero free throw with 23 seconds to go, but Finnian Butler drained a corner three with 12 seconds on the clock. Again, Archmere hit the second of two free throws with 8.9 to go, and the Quakers had a chance to tie or take the lead.
Butler made his way to the top of the arc, and as his shot headed toward the hoop, every player, coach and fan in the building awaited the outcome. The ball hit the front rim, and Albero was able to sweep it out of harm’s way to secure the victory.
It was a thrilling end to a game that was close most of the way but was missing offense. Two players did all of the scoring in the first. Friends’ Robby Tattersall hit on a follow shot, then on an assist from his brother Ryan to put the Quakers up, 4-0. Albero finally got the Auks on the board with 1:31 left when he found a seam in the lane and knocked down a layup.
Matt McCarthy tied the game with a pair of free throws early in the second, and that seemed to jumpstart the Auks. Albero fed Malloy for a corner three to give Archmere that 7-4 lead, and McCarthy scored the balance of the Auks’ eight points in the second as they held the Quakers to a single free throw and took a 15-5 lead at the break.
The teams traded steals to open the second half, with Albero converting his into a bucket that pushed the lead to a dozen. But the Quakers, plagued by turnovers and shooting woes throughout the first half, began to find the range. Robby Tattersall did nearly all the damage, coming up with field goals on a number of offensive rebounds. Andrew McKenzie added a three, but the Auks still led by nine heading into the fourth. McCarthy and Albero each scored five points in the third.
Albero and McCarthy each scored 13 for the Auks, who improved to 9-6. They are at Delaware Military on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Robby Tattersall had 20 to lead all scorers. The Quakers (10-4) are home Saturday at 1 p.m. against First State Military.
All photos by Mike Lang.