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Bishop McDevitt wins Triangle Club Tournament over Norristown

Norristown's Darius Hopewell looks to pass as Bishop McDevitt's Robert Smith Jr. defends during the Triangle Club Tournament final on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

WHITPAIN >> Bishop McDevitt won the 44th Annual Triangle Club Basketball Tournament Friday night with a 65-51 win over Norristown at Montgomery County Community College.

Lancers guard Robert Smith Jr. earned MVP honors after scoring a game-high 18 points.

“I’ve won MVP a lot but this one means more because this makes history,” Smith said. “I’m happy I got this trophy and the team got the ‘W’ today.’”

Norristown scored four straight points to start the fourth quarter and get within five, 47-42. McDevitt called a timeout and Smith scored six straight points when play resumed. His two baskets and two free throws started a 14-2 run that put the Lancers comfortably ahead, 61-44, and on their way to the first Triangle Club title in school history.

“Coach called timeout and told us what to do,” Smith said. “We came out with more enthusiasm, paid attention and came out with the ‘W.’

Bishop McDevitt’s Cameron Gardner watches his shot as Norristown’s Darius Hopewell defends during the Triangle Club Tournament final on Friday, December 29, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“When we needed points they called me. I just came out, did what I did, scored points and we got the win.

“It means a lot (to win the tournament). A couple years ago, McDevitt wasn’t a good (basketball) school – a bad program. We got a new coach, new players and this year is the best start in McDevitt history. We came out, we had film in the morning, had practice, came out and showed and won the (championship).”

Jamil Manigo and Seneca Willoughby joined Smith in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Vernon Tubbs led Norristown with 15 points – all in the second half – and Tyler Lyons and Tyler Tate each added nine points.

Hatters win consolation game

Hatboro-Horsham defeated Upper Merion, 39-36, in the consolation game to finish third in the tournament Friday night.

The Hatters took a 33-20 lead into the fourth quarter before the Vikings started their comeback.

TyJay Shepherd and Lucas Kim each scored five points in the fourth quarter for Upper Merion to help the Vikings get within three points with 33.6 seconds left.

Hatboro-Horsham’s Erick Dixon drives through a host of Upper Merion defenders in Triangle Club Tournament consolation game on Friday, December 29, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“A little bit of energy with the press,” Upper Merion coach Jason Quenzer said of what sparked the offense to 16 points in the fourth quarter after scoring just 20 in the opening three combined. “You don’t see the ball go through the basket for a long time and it’s tough. It’s a snowball effect. You need something to spark it to go the other way. With the press, we got a few turnovers and that went the other way and got us going.

After forcing a turnover, Upper Merion called timeout with 8.6 seconds left on the clock. They drew up a play for a three-pointer to tie it, but after some contact, Austin Moucer’s attempt came up empty.

“It’s those little things that I appreciate,” Quenzer said of his young team’s ability to battle back. “Instead of ducking our heads and giving up, we battled back into position to tie the game. As a coach in a season where we’re not off to the best start, those are things that you try to hold on to.”

Solomon McNair helped the Hatters build their big lead. He hit three three-pointers in the first half and scored all of his game-high 11 points before the fourth quarter.

Khalid Johnson and Kyle Hogan each added eight points.

Upper Merion’s TyJay Shepherd works to control his dribble as Hatboro-Horsham’s Chris Edwards defends during the Triangle Club Tournament consolation game on Friday, December 29, 2017. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Kim, a freshman, led Upper Merion with 10 points.

“In the beginning of the year I told (Kim) there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs for him because he doesn’t know what to expect physically the whole duration of the season,” Quenzer said. “I said you have to be understanding that you have to be OK with the ups and downs and continue to learn from them.”

KJ Pugh added nine and Shepherd had seven for the Vikings.

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