Norwood’s Sam Pié (top) almost looks like he’s playing his favorite sport – football – as he contends for a loose ball with Rosemont high scorer Christian Clover. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Norwood’s Sam Pié (top) almost looks like he’s playing his favorite sport – football – as he contends for a loose ball with Rosemont high scorer Christian Clover. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

After appearing in the finals of their own annual Snowball Basketball Tournament, the Norwood Fontbonne Academy boys were back in the regular-season swing last week.

Before blizzard conditions began to affect the area at the end of the work week, the Bears were able to get in a Catholic Academies League game at NFA on Thursday afternoon. Visiting Rosemont School of the Holy Child was ahead for much of the afternoon, but Norwood led briefly, 31-29, at the start of the fourth quarter.

The locals slipped behind again by as many seven points, but were back within one with 12 seconds remaining. Rosemont, in the foul double bonus, put the game away with a pair of free throws, winning 41-38.

The victors received more than two-thirds of their points – a game-high 28 – from guard Christian Clover. He’s still just a seventh-grader, but he was already one of the tallest players on the court and his smooth, well-coordinated movements made the game appear almost effortless for him. Rosemont improved to 5-3 overall and 4-0 in the CAL.

Norwood (2-6 overall) had better balance on offense, with a list of eight different scorers headed by seventh-grader Michael Marable, with eight points, eighth-grader Patrick Fehm, with seven, seventh-grader Sebastian Tilley, with six, and eighth-grader Colin Knight, with five.

Early on, inside field goals by Marable and eighth-grader Sam Pié, along with a three-pointer and a free throw by eighth-grader John Burke, helped Norwood kept pace up to 8-8. Rosemont then pulled away to a 15-11 advantage by the end of the opening quarter, when Clover already had nine points in the book.

The scoring pace slowed in the second period, although the visitors were able to increase their lead by one point and were up 21-16 at the half.

Two buckets by Clover extended Rosemont’s lead to 25-16 early in the third quarter, but then Fehm began to lead Norwood back, hitting three lay-ups and a free throw while the visitors picked up just two points on foul shots.

Seventh-grader Josh Hohenleitner drove in for another Bears basket, then Knight dropped in a jumper from the left baseline, tying the contest at 27-all with a minute to go in the third period. Rosemont held a one-point edge (29-28) at the end of the quarter, but the fourth round began with a three-pointer by Tilley that moved the home team in front, 31-29.

The visitors responded by taking the lead for good with a 9-0 run that made it 38-31. With a little over two minutes remaining, Marable got three points back for the Bears with a drive down the lane that resulted in a made field goal and free throw. Rosemont’s Clover hit the second of two free throws, then seventh-grader Milt James scored a lay-up for Norwood in transition to bring his team within three points of the leaders, 39-36.

After Rosemont missed both free throws in a double-bonus situation, at the other end of the court NFA’s Pié grabbed the rebound of a teammate’s missed shot and went back up to deposit a lay-up. It was now 39-38 with 21 seconds to go, but Norwood wouldn’t be able to score again.

Rosemont’s Will Keane (seven points total) made two foul shots to stick the final score on the board, and the Bears’ final shot, a long three-point attempt, didn’t find the basket. Still, Norwood had battled to the end, receiving contributions from many different players.

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