With as much as explosive floor general Tyler Norwood fills up the basket, Penncrest sometimes gets labeled a one-man team.
"We joke around with each other about Tyler doing all the scoring and the rest of us taking care of the defense," Chris Mills said. "It's kind of a joke, but it's also the truth."
Norwood shined again, this time delivering 27 points Saturday as the Lions successfully defended their PIAA District 1 Class 5A title with a 50-28 rout of Bishop Shanahan at Temple's Liacouras Center.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior ,who is averaging 21.7 points and has made 59 three-pointers, did receive solid support from his teammates against the frigid-shooting Eagles.
Mills and fellow forwards Malcolm Williams and Matt Arbogast helped limit Kevin Dodds, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound senior and Gannon recruit, to three-second half points.
"We worked on a plan in practice," Mills said. "When he posted up, we made him go toward the baseline and then we would double-team him."
Dodds, who managed 12 points and grabbed 13 boards, credited Penncrest's defensive effort. "They knew how to play us," he said. "Once I got the ball, they double- and triple-teamed me."
The Lions (25-3) will open the state playoffs against Shippensburg, District 3's No. 10 seed, on Friday at a neutral site and time to be determined.
Norwood, a 1,661-point career scorer, shot 11 for 18 from the field (2 for 7 from beyond the arc) and 3 for 4 from the line.
The 6-3, 200-pound Mills, a senior who wears a protective face mask because of a recently suffered broken nose, contributed five first-half points, four boards (two on offense), two steals, and an assist. "His physical toughness is only matched by his mental toughness," Penncrest coach Mike Doyle said.
Mills has six tattoos, with one a pair of boxing gloves. It is dedicated to his brother, Danny, who Chris said committed suicide three years ago at 24.
"After being a two-way lineman in football at Penncrest, he was a welterweight boxer," said Mills, a three-year starter at quarterback for the Lions who plans to continue in that sport at Moravian. "I dedicate every game I play to him. He's my everything."
Justin Heidig chipped in eight boards, seven points, and five assists against Shanahan; Arbogast notched seven boards and six points; and reserve Giavanni Antonelli had a pair of third-quarter buckets.
Shanahan (22-5) grabbed seven of its 10 offensive caroms in the first half. "We just concentrated on locking that down from there," Doyle said.
The Eagles, who shot 8 for 42 from the field, will begin states Friday against Hershey, District 3's No. 5 seed.
Bishop Shanahan 4 10 4 10-28
Penncrest 12 8 12 18-50
BS: David Angelo 4, Kevin Dodds 12, Thomas Ford 8, Joe O'Malley 1, Phil Chenard 3.