NEWARK – Archmere did not light up the scoreboard on Dec. 7 against Red Lion, but the Auks played stellar defense and hit several clutch buckets in the fourth quarter in a 40-35 win in their season’s first game. The contest was played at Newark Charter as part of the Diamond State Athletic Conference Tip-Off Classic.
The Auks trailed the Lions at the half, 24-23, and the margin remained at one point after a third quarter in which each team scored just four points. The first field goal by either team in the third was a transition layup by Red Lion’s Colin Hockenbrock with 5:14 to go.
Archmere’s shooting touch returned in the fourth quarter. A minute in, Darren DiRenzo picked up a loose ball down low among the big men and sent in a shot off glass to put the Auks in front to stay at 25-24. Louis Rosato drained a corner three to extend the lead to four, but Red Lion hit a free throw and a field goal to cut it back to one. Ty Brinker scored his only points of the afternoon on a nice back-door play, then picked up a block on the Auks’ defensive trip down the floor.
Archmere’s lead grew as large as seven in the final minute, but the Lions did not fold. They took advantage of three missed free throws by Archmere to stay close. A layup by Andre Jones pulled Red Lion to within 36-33 with 30.6 seconds on the clock, but Matt DiGregorio hit two big free throws to make it a two-possession game. Jones scored again, but DiGregorio sealed the victory with two more free throws in the closing seconds.
Red Lion, who scored 76 points in a season-opening loss, started fast out of the gate, taking an early 9-4 lead. The Auks responded with the final seven points of the first quarter, including a three-pointer by Dan Bastain.
Jack Hardcastle scored the first six points of the second quarter and Hockenbrock added a field goal to lift the Lions to a 17-11 advantage. It was 20-16 with time running low when Mike Albero hit a three-point shot at the buzzer.
DiRenzo was the only Auk in double figures, scoring 12 points. Three players – Rosato, Albero and DiGregorio – each had six. Archmere (1-0) will play Conrad in the championship game on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Newark Charter.
Hardcastle led all scorers with 15 points, and Jones added 12. The Lions (0-2) will try to right the ship tomorrow at noon against the host, Newark Charter.