Norwood’s Tommy Donovan, who scored a game-high 21 points, maneuvers past Tommy Strain (#34) of Springside Chestnut Hill. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

It looks like the varsity boys’ basketball team at Norwood Fontbonne Academy could be better than people thought.

When a meeting between the NFA Bears and nearby Springside Chestnut Hill Academy was arranged, the thinking was that a contest between the Norwood varsity and the Blue Devils’ middle school junior varsity would be a good match up. It didn’t turn out that way last Tuesday afternoon, when host NFA quickly built up a double-digit lead and went on to win, 49-25.

SCH outscored its host 15-11 during the third quarter, but the Bears pulled away again in the final frame and left most observers thinking that the two local schools should just go head-to-head with their regular varsity teams from now on.

Tuesday’s tilt was the season opener for Springside Chestnut Hill, while Norwood already had one Catholic Academies League game under its belt, a victory over Gwynedd Mercy Elementary School.

SCH struck first on Tuesday, getting on the board with a jumper by seventh-grade guard Tony Hicks. Hicks would score at the end of the period on a fast break, but in between Norwood piled 16 points on the home side of the scoreboard.

Eighth-grader Zahir Colman got the Bears going, and later his classmate Tommy Donovan hit a lay-up with a free throw tacked on. Donovan then stepped outside to make a pair of three-point field goals. Expanding on its 16-4 lead coming out of the first quarter, NFA rang up the first seven points of the second frame.

Tony Hicks of the Blue Devils goes up for a layup while defended by Norwood’s Andrew Van Stone (background). (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Donovan would net four more three-pointers in the second half to amass a game-high 21 points, but the Bears’ leader at halftime was actually Ben Olson, an eighth-grader who came off the bench to score 13 points, including two treys. The Blue Devils’ Hicks would score all of his eight points for the afternoon during the first half.

Springside Chestnut Hill made a good showing in the third quarter to trim four points off of its halftime deficit, as eighth-grade forward Ward Dobeck came on strong to chalk up six of his eight total points. After that, though, the Blue Devils were unable to score in the fourth period as Norwood pulled away again to win by 24.

NFA’s Olson added a lay-up in the second half to wind up with 15 points, while Colman came away with six points for the winners.