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Newly-minted varsity senior scores


Zack Slogoff wasn’t sure he’d ever be a varsity player at Lower Merion High School: not this year, or ever for that matter, in his high school career. But Slogoff not only made the team this season as a senior, but has turned into an impact player for the 7-2 Aces, who are ranked 17th in the LCP top 20.

Slogoff celebrated his 18th birthday Jan. 7 with a stunning 15-point performance, which included five for five three-point shooting, igniting Lower Merion to an 8-point win over visiting Allentown. “This is definitely my best moment, in not just an Aces uniform but any uniform, for that matter,” said Slogoff, a 6-foot-2-inch swingman. “Seeing all my teammates and coaches have such confidence in me, and performing in the spotlight was so amazing. The fact that it was my birthday made it even more exciting.”

 

Slogoff, who played ninth grade and junior varsity over the last three seasons, decided to go for a varsity spot this November, though he was uncertain he would make the team. “My journey is kind of a crazy story,” he said. “When school started in September, I wasn’t really even on the varsity radar. I had a rough conversation with coach [Gregg] Downer about where I stood and what I needed to do to put myself in a position to make the team. I took the summer off to think about things. But I went to coach Downer the first day of school and told him I was going to do everything I needed to do to make the team; and through putting in the hard work and gaining confidence in my game, I worked my way up and earned minutes.”

 

Slogoff, though, had never scored more than five points in a game yet. While he has played in some important spots due to injuries to Matt O’Connor and Theo Henry, he really stepped up against the team that knocked off the Aces a year ago. “The key to my success and showing was just trusting the process and taking advantage of the opportunity I was given,” he said. “My teammates and coaches all knew I was capable of shooting that well. I just needed to seize the moment and translate all my practice threes to the game.”

 

Most pundits ranked Lower Merion as favorites to win the Central League, based on its track record. The Aces have won more league titles (15) and state titles (3) in the last 20 years than anyone in the league, despite losing its two best players to graduation and two more starters to injury. Slogoff showed why the Aces are rarely counted out: you never know who will step up for them. “The key to the Lower Merion success year in and year out, and especially now, is that we have worked together as a united team, just trusting the game plan our coaches give us each and every game,” he said. “We are a really close-knit group and everyone is excited to see their teammates succeed. Steve Payne and Jack [Forrest] have done an unbelievable job filling the gap Noah Fennell and Terrell Jones left. The combo of jack’s amazing offensive ability with Steve leading the team in rebounds and assists as a point guard have really made up for losing two great players."

 

Said coach John Gallman, Slogoff’s freshman coach and now a varsity assistant, “We are thrilled for Zack. He has worked hard and earned these minutes and this moment. Coach Downer lays out a guideline to make the team and to improve and to find your role into the program. I’ve been around great coaches at other schools and they are terrific, but Downer and his assistants really have a great program here, and I think Zack Slogoff finding a niche is an example of how hard work is rewarded.”

 

 

 

Newly-minted varsity senior scores
Jeremy Treatman - Contributor

Jeremy Treatman is the founder and co-director of the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classics and Sports Broadcasting Camps. Over 50 NBA players, including Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Rajon Rondo played in his events when they were in high school. Jeremy wrote high school sports for the INQUIRER for 10 years, and was the first TV reporter for the HIgh School Sports Show on Channel 29 from 1994-2001. He currently is Comcast's announcer for all high school games.

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