By Josh Verlin
Facing down a double-digit deficit to Upper Merion in the third quarter of the District 1 5A championship game, Penncrest was left with one option in hopes of a comeback: give Tyler Norwood the ball, and let him do his thing.
And on the biggest stage of his young career, the Lions’ junior delivered.
Norwood connected on a quartet of 3-pointers over the closing 16 minutes, each one seemingly from a foot further than the one before it, as Penncrest captured its first district title since 1980 with a 39-37 win over Upper Merion at Villanova’s Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.
The super-confident 5-foot-10 guard finished with 26 points, good for two-thirds of his team’s scoring total, including 18 of Penncrest’s 24 in the second half.
“Unbelievable, first championship in 37 years,” he said afterwards. “I give a lot of credit to coach [Mike Doyle] he keeps us in it, plays he calls, I mean, he’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had, I give a lot of credit to him.”
“It’s probably the greatest basketball moment of my life,” said Doyle, a Philadelphia University (then Textile) alum who spent 10 years as an assistant under Phil Martelli and has also had coaching stops at Arcadia and two other high schools. “Twenty-five years coaching, playing for Herb [Magee], coaching with Phil, this was unbelievable.”
(Webmaster’s note: The Upper Merion vs Penncrest Championship game was our Game-of-the-Week and can be heard on our Archives link on the left hand side of the page.)