It was a showdown for the Summit Conference championship last week in Norwood when the Pirates hosted Mansfield.
The Lions knew a win could force a tie for the Summit Conference title. Meanwhile, a Pirates’ win would give them an outright conference crown after going undefeated in the Summit this year.
Though Mansfield did hold a slim one point lead at halftime, it was Norwood who ended their conference drought by winning their first Summit Conference title since the 2011-2012 season with a 71-62 victory over the Lions.
“We are the smallest school in the conference,” said Norwood head coach Shane Chadwell. “…We did it the right way. We beat everybody.”
Before the game, Chadwell knew going undefeated was a tall task as the Lions were coming into the contest after back-to-back wins over Summit Conference foes Seymour and Gainesville.
Mansfield opened the game with two 3-pointers as both Chase Cartwright and Tom Emerick hit big shots. After a slow start, Norwood’s Garrett Davault picked up a quick four points to get the Pirates going. The Lions finished off the first quarter with a 7-0 run to take an early 20-12 lead over Norwood. London Dennis, Cartwright and Emerick each scored five points in the frame as Mansfield made four 3-pointers. The Lions made 8-of-20 shots from the field in the first.
Emerick opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to push the run to 10-0 for an 11-point edge. When Norwood was in need of a basket, Max McGowan came up big with a 3-pointer. Payton McDaris then picked up a steal and layup to cut the lead to 25-19.
Norwood would go on an 11-3 run to trim the Lions’ lead to three points.
After Cartwright’s 3-point play pushed the lead back to six for the Lions, McGowan hit two free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot.
Davault would hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 31-31. Norwood would eventually take a 39-35 lead before a late Lions’ 5-0 run gave Mansfield the one point edge at halftime. In that second quarter, McDaris sparked the Pirates with 11 points.
In the third quarter, McGowan hit his second big 3-pointer of the game to tie things at 46-46.
Drake hit a 3-pointer to push Norwood’s lead to five late in the third quarter when Cartwright responded with a 3-point play. A nose bleed forced Davault to the bench at the end of the third quarter as the Pirates led, 55-52, heading into the final frame. Coming back in the game with a new No. 12 jersey on, Davault helped the Pirates take a seven point lead as he navigated the offense.
Dennis hit a big 3-pointer to answer early, but the Pirates started to pull away.
Gavin McGraw then took over the fourth quarter as he had a 3-point play to put Norwood in front by 10 points with 3:02 left in the game. He scored 10 points in the frame. Norwood held on late to win the game by nine. Davault paced the Pirates with 22 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals while McGraw tallied 15 points, four rebounds and one steal. McGowan had 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal; McDaris had nine points, two assists, one rebound and one steal; Justin Chadwell tallied seven points and six rebounds; Drake scored five points, one rebound and one assist; and Jacob Sinning scored three points, two rebounds, one steal and one assist.
For the Lions, Cartwright led the way with 20 points, two assists and one steal. Emerick had 19 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals; Dennis had 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and one block; Landen Campbell added five points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal; Stone Sawyers had four points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal; and Kelley had three points and one assist.
The Pirates improved their record to 25-1 on the season on Friday night as they defeated Lutie on Homecoming, 71-41.
The Pirates struggled early, holding just a one point lead at the end of the first quarter. Things changed from there as they outscored the Indians, 59-30, in the final three quarters to win the game by 30 points.
Davault paced the Pirates with 16 points; Drake had 15; both McGraw and McDaris had 13 points; Chadwell had eight points; Sinning scored two points; and McGowan had one point.