WARMINSTER >> Archbishop Wood boys’ basketball coach John Mosco was getting a little impatient with Tyree Pickron.
Pickron wasn’t doing anything wrong, as he kept setting up teammates for easy buckets in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game against Bishop McDevitt, but he also wasn’t shooting the ball. He was trying to win the game. Given that Pickron needed just two points to break Wood’s school scoring record, his coach really, really wanted the senior to score.
Finally, making a sharp cut to the rim with 2:46 left in the game, Pickron took and made the fateful shot, pushing him past 1999 graduate Tim Whalen to the top of the Vikings’ scoring table. The Vikings also picked up the win, topping the Royal Lancers 59-42.
“It’s a great individual accomplishment,” Pickron said. “I’ve been playing here for four years so it’s a testament to the coaches too. They trusted me that I could go and get it.”
A four-year starter at Wood, Pickron finished the night with 1,304 career points after an 11-point outing against McDevitt. Whalen, who was at the game and congratulated Pickron after it ended, held the previous record with 1,302 points.
Pickron, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, is a four-year starter for Mosco and is one of the coach’s best success stories. After averaging 10 points per game as a freshman in a mostly perimeter-based role, Pickron has expanded his game exponentially across the board each year.
On Friday, for example, he dished out six assists, a bulk of them setting up senior Seth Pinkney for some powerful second-half dunks as Wood finally pulled away from the scrappy Lancers.
“It all seemed so far for me,” Pickron said. “Averaging 10 points as a freshman was unWe real, I thought me getting 1,000 points was unreal and this, I never thought I’d be the one to do it. It’s amazing to me.”
Wood is also in the thick of a rugged stretch of schedule to close out the season, so Pickron’s focus was all about getting a needed win on Friday. McDevitt hasn’t seen its nonconference success translate into the win column in PCL play, but the Lancers play hard and have earned the respect of the rest of the league.
First-year coach Will Chavis isn’t one to push moral victories and he flatly said the goal is to win, not just be competitive but he also knows his team isn’t quite experienced enough to beat some of the PCL’s established teams. After his team hung with Wood for a half, Chavis was quickly able to point out the difference maker in the latter two quarters.
“We always talk about being mature as a team, we’re pretty young and inexperienced and we can hang around because we play hard and scrap but then the experience of other teams shows and we’re just not experienced enough at this point,” Chavis said. “It says a lot about our guys that there is the fact we’re hanging in games and teams are scouting us.”
Wood is the defending PCL, District 12 5A and PIAA 5A champion and a lot of its key guys were key guys last year, so the Vikings have a lot of experience to dwell on. After he struggled in the first half, Wood senior Andrew Funk was terrific after intermission with 15 of his 17 points coming after the break.
Pinkney scored eight of his 14 in the fourth quarter, including three power slams for the 6-foot-11 senior. Even Kyle McNamee, a senior standout on Wood’s baseball team in his first year getting varsity hoops minutes, had two big steals in the third to spark Wood.
“They made plays, Funk, he had nowhere to go and turns around for a fadeaway with a defender on him and it’s all net,” Chavis said. “He comes off a handoff screen, pulls up behind the screen with a defender on him, all net. Pickron, the same thing, he’s hitting all net with defenders on him. That’s just hours in the gym working hard and being experienced enough and having the guts to take that shot. We’re just not there yet.”
McDevitt only trailed 21-18 at the half and closed the second quarter on a 6-0 run that had Mosco upset with his guys. Last year, the Vikings could deliver knockout punches seemingly at will but losing Collin Gillespie, Keith Otto and Matt Cerruti took away a lot of firepower and Mosco knew this season would be different.
It just took the guys who came back some time to figure that out. Wood has to get things done with its defense this season and play more grind-it-out type of games. Pickron said that it did take longer than expected to find their stride, but the Vikings have come together at the right time.
“We bicker and argue and we lost a lot of games we weren’t used to,” Pickron said. “Now, we’re coming together as a team, bonding and hoping to make that push through the PCL playoffs and back to states.”
Wood faces Lincoln at 2:45 Saturday, then closes the regular season with games against St Joe’s Prep, Archbishop Carroll, Roman Catholic and Lansdale Catholic. McDevitt also has some key games left, including a showdown with West Catholic that could get the Lancers into states and Chavis knows his group will continue to battle through.
Mosco wasn’t mad at Pickron for not shooting, he just wanted to make sure the senior got to break the milestone on Friday, with a host of family and a lot of friends in the house to see it. The guard, who’s rapid rise has given him the chance to play at the next level, credited Wood assistant Chris Roantree, who is also his AAU coach, and everyone who’s had his back along the way as part of his milestone.
Pickron has signed to play Division I basketball at Quinnipiac, something he said he’s dreamed about since he first picked up a ball. While a lot of kids say their goal is to get to the top level, Mosco saw early on that Pickron wasn’t just talk.
“It was a great moment to share with him, he’s a great kid and everybody loves him,” Mosco said. “He came here, he and his family trusted me to have him. He started from Day 1, scored 1,000 points and will leave as the all-time leading scorer. He’s heading to Quinnipiac, he’s eligible, he does the right things in the building and he’s a leader not just on the court but off the court.”
Mosco said Pickron’s leadership has grown the most from his freshman season and for all his talent, the senior is trying to be the unifier for the Vikings in their stretch run.
“I felt he had the talent and work ethic, he was in the gym all the time working on his game,” Mosco said. “He put the work in and it paid off for him.”
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 12 9 18 20 – 59
BISHOP MCDEVITT 9 9 10 14 – 42
AW: Andrew Funk 7 0-0 17, Tyree Pickron 2 6-8 11, Rahsool Diggins 0 3-4 3, Seth Pinkney 6 2-2 14, Julius Phillips 2 0-0 4, Daeshon Shepherd 3 1-1 7, Joe Wade 1 0-0 3. Nonscoring: Karrington Wallace, Andrew Langford, Kyle McNamee. Totals: 21 12-15 59
BM: Amir Harris 1 0-0 2, Robert Smith 6 1-2 16, DaQuane Williams 0 1-2 1, Jamil Manigo 1 2-2 4, Cameron Gardner 5 0-0 10, Seneca Willoughby 1 0-0 2, Shamir Mosely 2 0-2 4, Amir Lewis 0 1-2 1, Jordan Harris 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 5-10 42
3-pointers: AW – Funk 3, Pickron, Wade; BM – Smith 3