After rough roads, Penn Wood, Lower Merion renew acquaintances

Ryan Kelly’s recent offensive awakening is yet another arrow in Penn Wood’s quiver ahead of its playoff opener with Lower Merion Friday. (Digital First Media/Robert J. Gurecki)

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By Matthew De George

Two years ago, as Central League and Del Val champs, respectively, Lower Merion and Penn Wood were fated to the lousy draw of a second-round tilt. Lower Merion, as the eight seed, won that one, 58-43, and went to states. No. 9 Penn Wood bowed out in playbacks.

In the present, with neither side having the kind of season it’s become accustomed to, a rematch in the first round of the Class AAAA tournament Friday night seems fitting for two of the titans of District One.

No. 22 Penn Wood (12-10) takes the trip to Lower Merion, a daunting ambience even if the team that calls it home hasn’t been as consistent a force as in recent years.

Lower Merion’s 15-7 record is impressive. Their nonleague track record, whipping York and JP McCaskey, fosters hope in the even they get to states. But they limp into the postseason, losers of four of seven. That late free-fall, which included a 54-44 setback to Haverford Jan. 30, excluded them from the Central League tournament, consigning them to fourth.

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