On Wednesday, the Neshaminy Redskins rode the back of senior guard Chris Arcidiacono to push through to the quarterfinals of the PIAA 6A Boys Championships for the first time in a nail-biting double overtime victory over the Lower Merion Aces.
Neshaminy got revenge on Lower Merion after losing to them earlier in the season and it could not come at a better time. Coach Gregg Downer said the difference this game is, “it is win or go home.” That is the mentality he tried to get his players to play with and they did, especially Arcidiacono.
There is no doubt who was the best player in this game as Arcidiacono finished with 51 points. He was doing all he could to keep the Redskins’ season alive as well as his high school career. He was draining threes, driving to the basket, drawing fouls and going nearly perfect from the free throw line. “I gotta do whatever I can to help my team win. I had to help my team with scoring tonight and did just that and we came out on top,” said Arcidiacono.
This game was going back and forth all game. The Aces led at the end of the first quarter, but the Redskins took the lead back going into half by two. Lower Merion did not give up as they came out on top at the end of the third quarter, but the Redskins had an answer for them.
With only 20 seconds remaining in regular time, Arcidiacono stepped up when it really mattered. He drained a deep game-tying three with a hand in his face, pumping up the crowd and forcing the first overtime.
The game continued to stay close in overtime. As the Aces started to believe they are going to win, deja vu strikes. Arcidiacono comes down the court and nails another game-tying three to force the second and last overtime. “It’s a regular shot. Just happens to be later in the game, which adds more pressure. Thankfully I knocked them down,” Arcidiacono said about his game-tying baskets late in the game.
The Aces led once again with less than 30 seconds to go and there was a feeling in the air that Arcidiacono will strike again. He drives hard and floats it up and misses, but senior guard Greg Deluca grabs the rebound. He throws a shot back up and misses, and as the atmosphere in the gym continues to build with anxiety and excitement, he tips in his own miss to take the 1-point lead with 15 seconds to go, which ended up being enough to move on.
Lower Merion goes down the court and misses three shots in a row after grabbing their offensive rebounds to end the game with a 1-point deficit, ending their season.
Junior Jack Forrest gave a great effort with 35 points along with junior Steve Payne, who contributed 20 points. It just was not enough to keep their season alive.
Neshaminy will face off against the Lincoln Wolverines in the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 17 at 2 p.m.