After trailing 17-13 at halftime, the host Bears were ahead 34-33 at the end of the third quarter and also led by one point late in the fourth period.
The boys' basketball teams from Norwood Fontbonne Academy and Holy Child Academy in Drexel Hill may not be bound for the Catholic Academies League playoffs, but they engaged in a very spirited contest last Monday at Norwood.
After trailing 17-13 at halftime, the host Bears were ahead 34-33 at the end of the third quarter and also led by one point late in the fourth period. Norwood missed a chance to gain a little breathing room by coming up empty on a one-and-one with three seconds to go, but Holy Child was unable to get off a shot in the final seconds and NFA prevailed, 45-44.
The visitors scored the first points of the afternoon, but about three minutes in, the first of Ryan Smith's three three-point field goals got the Bears into a 4-4 tie. Norwood was up a point near the end of the first quarter, then a buzzer-beater from near the foul line by Holy Child's Patrick Reagan moved the visiting team ahead, 9-8.
In the second round the Drexel Hill squad received two field goals and two free throws from Max Okebata and enjoyed a 17-13 lead over Norwood at halftime.
The offensive production of both teams increased markedly in the third quarter, with Norwood outscoring Holy Child 21-16 to end the period with a 34-33 edge. In the early minutes the visitors actually went up by six points, 22-16, but were outscored by the Bears, 18-11, the rest of the way. NFA's Smith struck from the outside, hitting two three-pointers and two midrange jump shots, while his teammate Finn Canally scored two lay-ups in transition and added a free throw.
Just when the visitors thought they'd identified Norwood's biggest scoring threats, another one emerged in the fourth quarter. L.J. Brown, who had scored a total of three points from the free throw line up to that point, scored in transition and later made good on a driving lay-up, a putback, and a foul shot to help NFA maintain a slim lead through much of the fourth round.
With under three minutes left in the game, two made free throws by Brandon Ross gave the Bears a four-point advantage, 43-39. Over the next two minutes though, Norwood committed a turnover and missed several shots on the offensive end, while Holy Child's Patrick Reagan penetrated for a pair of lay-ups.
Fouled on the second of these shots, Reagan hit a free throw that moved the Drexel Hill franchise ahead, 44-43, with 42.5 seconds remaining in the game. The Bears turned the ball over and then fouled again, but fortunately for them Holy Child, now in the double bonus, missed both shots from the charity stripe.
The visitors were also unable to score from the field during their next possession, and NFA's Billy Murphy brought the ball up the court and went right on in to the basket to score. Norwood was back in front, 45-44, with 11 seconds to go.
When a Holy Child field goal attempt missed, Canally collected the rebound for the Bears and was fouled on the open floor. Since Norwood was in the bonus he went to the foul line, missing the first shot of a one-and-one. Only 2.9 seconds were left on the clock, though, and when Holy Child made a long pass up the court, Murphy was waiting back on defense for the Bears and swatted the ball away.
Smith and Brown both ended up in double figures in scoring for the winners, with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Ross scored eight points and Canally had seven, while Murphy added five points and Tristan Loder scored two.
Holy Child's Reagan recorded a game-high 22 points, with Okebata adding 11 and Caleb Hillery scoring seven points for the visitors.