New Castle News


March 19, 2013

PIAA Semifinals: ’Canes to battle tall, talented Lower Merion



Syracuse University recruit B.J. Johnson leads the way for Lower Merion. Johnson is averaging 16.3 points a game and has just under 50 3-pointers.

“He’s a do-everything guard for them,” Blundo said. “He’s one of the top players in the country, not just in Pennsylvania.

“He will be a load to handle and he can score so many different ways.”

Johnson rolled his ankle twice late in the game against Harrisburg. But he still delivered the go-ahead three-point play on a dunk and free throw for a 61-59 lead with less than 20 seconds to go. Johnson, who finished with 14 points, took a pass on a backdoor cut to convert the jam.

“He looked pretty good on that dunk,” said Blundo of Johnson in reply to a possibly gimpy Johnson. “An athlete of his caliber, at 80 percent, is better than a lot of athletes at 100 percent; but he’s healthy.”

Johnson is active on the defensive end as well. He jumps the passing lanes and gets deflections that ultimately result in forced turnovers.

“Johnson is really good defensively and when he’s in a stance, he’s really long; he’s also quicker in that stance,” Blundo said. “He’s a superb Division I athlete.”

Raheem Hall, a 6-2 senior guard and slasher, tossed in a game-high 16 points for the Aces in the quarterfinals against the Cougars.

“Hall is really athletic,” Blundo said. “He can score every way possible; he isn’t talked enough about and he can really hurt you in many ways.

“He is active and a good all-around player. I think he may have been the difference for them against Harrisburg.”

Dalembert is a triple threat for the Aces. He had 12 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks against Harrisburg.

“Dalembert is a strong post player,” Blundo said. “He plays off the glass and he blocks a ton of shots.

“It’s not easy to get a triple double in high school, but he’s always around it.”

Dalembert is the younger half-brother of Samuel Dalembert, a 10-year NBA veteran now competing with the Milwaukee Bucks.

JaQuan Johnson, a 5-10 junior point guard, also netted 12 markers against the Cougars. He’s a vocal player on the floor as well.

“He’s their heartbeat,” Blundo said. “He’s really crafty with the ball and he can go off the dribble.

“JaQuan Johnson guards well defensively; he’s just an extraordinary player.”

Corey Sherman, a 6-0 sophomore guard, provides added scoring for Lower Merion off the bench.

“He’s a really good shooter, a spot-up shooter,” Blundo said. “He only needs a little bit of space and he doesn’t play like a sophomore.”

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