By Matthew DeGeorge
Game-planning for a third meeting with Lower Merion in five days wasn’t easy for Mike Snyder, to say nothing of physically preparing his players for a seventh game in 11.
So with Ridley having split the opening home-and-home salvo against the Aces this week, it may have been a blessing in disguise that forward Ameer Staggs missed the first two installments.
Saturday made a compelling argument that Staggs’ presence made a pronounced difference.
The senior returned from a five-game absence to provide 14 points, 10 rebounds and an emotional boost to No. 3 seed Ridley in a 55-41 drubbing of No. 2 Lower Merion in the Central League semifinals at Marple Newtown.
The win earns Ridley (18-5) a third crack at hanging a league loss on Conestoga in Monday’s final (8 p.m., Harriton).
While Ridley won four of the five games that Staggs missed with a concussion — including a 56-42 handling of Lower Merion at home Tuesday — there’s no doubt that they found an extra gear with him in the lineup.