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All-Delco Boys Basketball: Norwood capped historic career in championship fashion

Penncrest’s Tyler Norwood led the Lions to 26 wins and a second consecutive district crown.

In addition to Player of the Year Isaiah Wong, the All-Delco team includes:

Archbishop Carroll’s AJ Hoggard goes to the basket as Wissahickon’s Zach Reiner defends during state playoff game. (DFM File)

Tyler Norwood, Penncrest: The senior guard and 2016-17 Player of the Year capped a brilliant career with 1,716 points, a program record and 10th most in Delaware County history. As a senior, Norwood led Penncrest to a program-record 26 wins, a Central League regular-season title and a second consecutive District 1 Class 5A crown. The Lions also advanced to the second round of the PIAA tournament. Norwood averaged 21.6 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. The Central League MVP scored in double-figures in every game, including three 30-point outings. He led the team with 58 3-pointers, the only Lion with more than 10 makes from beyond the arc. Norwood was at his best with 27 points in a 50-29 win over Bishop Shanahan in the District 1 final; he scored 83 points in four districts games in a tournament where the Lions never trailed and only surrendered 127 total points. Norwood scored 27 points in a heartbreaking loss to Northeastern in the second round of states. Norwood is considering low Division I and Division II interest to play collegiately.

AJ Hoggard, Archbishop Carroll: The sophomore guard led the Patriots to another 20-win season, culminating in the Catholic League semifinals and the PIAA Class 5A quarters. Hoggard led the way, orchestrating a balanced attack with four double-figures scorers. He averaged 15.7 points per game and added 6.1 assists and 5.5 rebounds, a constant triple-double threat. He nearly struck for a triple-double against Abington, with 14 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a 14-point win over the eventual District 1 Class 6A champions. He added 23 points, 10 assists and six rebounds in a Catholic League playoff win over Archbishop Wood and tallied nine or more assists on six occasions. In six playoff games, he averaged 17.2 points, including 19 in the second-round states win over Lampeter-Strasburg in overtime. Hoggard, a two-time All-Delco selection and an All-Catholic pick, has interest from a number of Division I schools, including Rutgers, Seton Hall and UConn.

READ: The full list of All-Delco honorees

Bonner & Prendergast’s Ajiri Johnson slams home for two points in the Catholic League final at the Palestra. The Rider signee averaged a double-double for the Friars. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Michael Smith, Chester: The junior guard was the beating heart of Chester’s team, which recovered from a 1-5 start to rip off 13 straight wins. The Clippers went 10-0 to claim the Del Val title and advanced to the second round of the PIAA Class 5A tournament before falling to eventual champion Abington Heights. Smith did it all for the Clippers. He was the leading scorer at 15.6 points per game and fell one made 3-pointer behind Brian Randolph for the team lead at 46. Smith averaged 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He tallied 31 points in an overtime win over Bartram in January, 33 in a six-point victory at Glen Mills and 29 as the Clippers closed out the regular season with a 107-75 victory over Chichester. An illness slowed him during districts, the Clippers falling to fourth place, but Smith recovered to be the team’s leading scorer at 11 points in the low-scoring loss to Abington Heights.

Ajiri Johnson, Bonner & Prendergast: The 6-8 senior forward was a force in the lane for the Friars, leading them to a slew of firsts – District 12 Class 5A title, PIAA Class 5A tournament and advancement to the semifinals. The Friars also notched 25 wins, a Catholic League regular season title and a spot in the Catholic League final at the Palestra. Johnson was at the center of that by averaging a double-double of 11.1 points and 10.4 rebounds to go with 2.1 blocks and 1.8 assists per game. A first-team All-Catholic pick, he started the season strong with six points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks against Overbrook. He hit Pope Paul XXIII for 17 points and 16 rebounds in January, then 15 points and 13 boards in an overtime win over Roman Catholic. His offensive production topped out at 26 points in the second round of states against William Penn, but his literal and figurative highlight of the year came against St. Joseph’s Prep, with a game-winning putback slam at the buzzer in overtime that earned Bonner one of eight conference wins by single-digit margins and landed Johnson on SportsCenter’s Top Plays. Johnson will continue his career at Rider.

Haverford School’s Christian Ray led the Fords to their first Inter-Ac title since 1999. (Pete Bannan/Digital First Media)

Christian Ray, Haverford School: The junior forward will go down in history as the leader of the team that ended the Fords’ 19-year wait for an Inter-Ac title. The Fords romped to a first league title since 1999 and first unbeaten crown since 1937, posting a 10-0 league mark with an average margin of victory of 17 points and only one game (at Malvern Prep) decided by single digits. Ray was a big reason for that, as well as a 23-6 record and a trip to the PAISAA final, the reclassified junior averaging 18.9 points per game. He upped his average to 20.3 in league play, scoring more than 20 points on 14 occasions. Ray scored a season-high 26 in that close call against Malvern, then blitzed the Friars for 24 in the league-clincher. Ray also averaged 10.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game and averaged an efficiency rating of plus-12 per game, per the Haverford staff. Ray has 1,705 points in four years of high school (first two at Octorara) and 1,008 in two seasons with Haverford School. Ray has offers from several low Division I schools, including Drexel, NJIT and Bowling Green.

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