MIDDLETOWN >> Once your eyes pass the “soph” designation next to Tyler Norwood’s name on the Penncrest roster, it becomes difficult to recall that Norwood is in the midst of only his second year of varsity experience.
Certainly very little in his play Friday night betrayed the point guard’s youth.
Norwood was the only scorer to escape single-digits in Penncrest’s 59-34 handling of Marple Newtown, but his imprint on the game was reflected in much more than just his points tally.
Norwood’s 22 points were easily the high for either side on the night. (Through three quarters, his 17 had Marple’s 15 single-handedly beaten). But his ability to press the right buttons with the ball in his hands informed why Friday’s win was chalked up without much consternation.
“Coach told us to have good composure, be patient with the ball,” Norwood said. “We got open shots and knocked them down.”
Friday wasn’t the best of shooting nights for Norwood, who hit only one 3-pointer and had two go halfway down, then out. His three assists don’t jump off the page, but adding his incisive passes to bigs through the pick-and-roll that either rimmed out or resulted in trips to the line would raise his total well over a half-dozen.
“Ty always finds a way to get something done, create some space,” big man Peter Spiotta said. “He finds me when I don’t even know that he can see me. He just creates offense so easily. It’s amazing, really.”
Norwood’s poise Friday was a microcosm of the boost he’s provided for Penncrest (11-9, 8-6) in recent weeks, rattling off a three-game winning streak with two games left and likely reframing the question to “where” they’ll be in the District One Class AAAA field rather than “if.”
The Lions could’ve crumbled when leading scorer AJ Taylor exited the Ridley game Jan. 16 with a badly injured finger that will shelve him for the rest of the season. Instead, Norwood has upped his average to 20 points per outing in Taylor’s four-game absence.
Tyler Norwood cans a buzzer beating 3. Feed by Shaun Norwood. after 1Q, Penncrest up 15-4 https://t.co/4VFklOcJsb
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) January 30, 2016
Friday’s addition to that body of work wasn’t just about putting the ball in the net. Against Central League struggler Marple, Norwood was instrumental in dictating tempo, maximizing the Lions’ time with the ball and ensuring quality looks. He captained a 16-0 run across the first two quarters that created distance in what had been a 4-4 game. When the Lions headed to the locker room, they had held Marple (2-17, 1-13) to just 10 points and had committed one turnover.
Limiting possessions ratcheted up pressure on the Tigers, which shone through their shot selection. They hit just 10 of 51 looks from the field (19.6 percent) and were even less effective from 3-point range (3-for-24, 12.5 percent).
The young players on Marple, three days removed from arresting a 15-game slide with a 60-55 win over Upper Darby, are still coming to terms with playing from behind effectively. After hitting nine 3-pointers against the Royals, they were left without answers when they repeatedly found nothing but iron Friday.
“We need to stay comfortable and confident in our shots,” Nick DiCamillo said. “When we get behind, we can’t just crumble. We have to stay nice and confident and keep shooting with confidence.”
DiCamillo was one of only two players with multiple baskets, finishing with five points and going 1-for-7 from beyond the arc. Scott Hahn provided a brief boost in the second quarter, scoring all six of Marple’s points that stanza on the way to nine total, but it was short-lived.
Spiotta scored eight points, while fellow bigs Jimmy Carpenter (six points) and Raymond Somerville (four) contributed off the bench. Nine players recorded a field goal, spreading the wealth with an eye down the road.
“It’s getting us ready for districts, most definitely,” Norwood said. “Marple coming in at (1-12) in the league, they beat Upper Darby the other day so we didn’t know what to expect. We handled our business at the end of the day.”