By Rick O’Brien
Lower Merion’s JaQuan Johnson and Roman Catholic’s Shep Garner, longtime buddies and Chester natives, texted back and forth in the days leading to Wednesday night’s high-stakes basketball matchup.
“Shep asked me if I was ready for the game,” Johnson said. “And he said that Roman was hungry to bring home a state title. I told him, ‘You’re going to have to get past the defending champs first.’ “
Thanks to Johnson’s terrific second-half performance, a deliberate offensive attack, and stellar defense, the Aces ousted the Cahillites, 64-52, in a PIAA Class AAAA second-round game at Archbishop Ryan.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Johnson netted 18 of his game-high 20 points after intermission. He was solely responsible for an 11-2 run that put Lower Merion in front by 10 (43-33) with six minutes remaining.