by Tom Utescher
An ideal inside/outside balance on offense helped the Norwood Fontbonne Academy boys gain a firm foothold in a home contest last Tuesday evening, and from a 31-16 halftime advantage the host Bears went on to win over Nazareth Academy, 61-38.
In the first half NFA’s Cole Storm scored most of his 12 points from the paint, while shooting guard Matthew Quirk provided offense from the outside with a mid-range jumper and a pair of three-point field goals.
Storm came away with a game-high 16 points while Quirk collected 12, helping the home team level its record in the Catholic Academies League at 4-4. Corbin Melle divided his scoring evenly between the halves to add another 12 points for Norwood, which reached an overall mark of 7-9.
The Bears are battling for a spot in the CAL playoffs and are aspiring to something higher than the fourth seed for the postseason tourney. That position in the bracket would lead to a meeting with powerful Gwynedd Mercy Elementary, which has already beaten Norwood twice in their home/away series during the regular season.
Melle started the locals lads off last Tuesday with a breakaway basket and two free throws, then Storm got going, as well. Nazareth ended the quarter with a three-point field goal, but the home team still took a 14-7 advantage into the second round.
Storm continued to pump out the points for the Bears, and the visitors really found themselves in a predicament when Quirk began to produce from the perimeter. With a 15-footer from the left wing followed by a pair of strikes from the three-point arc, Quirk stretched the Nazareth defense as Norwood progressed to a 15-point lead at the interlude, 31-16.
With seven different players making their way into the Bears’ scoring column in the second half, the gap between the teams widened further. Two athletes for the home team who came on strong after the intermission were Malkelm Morrison, who notched six of his eight points over the final two quarters, and Christopher Maloney, who netted six of his seven after the halftime break.
The tally was 46-20 at the three-quarter mark, and the lead reached 29 points early in the fourth period before Nazareth deposited several three-point field goals in the closing minutes.
The winners received two points apiece from Michael Kelly, Langston Morrison, and Greg Osborne. The leaders for Nazareth were Matt Rueter and Dan Vittorelli, with nine and eight points, respectively, and Steve Pons and Zach Vittorelli each scored six for the Hawks.