Last season, Brett Paul showed up at Plymouth Whitemarsh's games not knowing what role, if any, he would play.
"It was inconsistent," the senior guard said. "I would either get a lot of minutes or not play at all. That's just the way it was."
Paul is now firmly designated as the squad's sixth man. Friday night, aided by his energized play off the bench, the host Colonials stormed past Suburban One League American Conference rival Wissahickon, 69-56.
"He's a tremendous kid and student," said PW coach Jim Donofrio, whose team battled back from a 17-7 deficit. "He's that player every coach loves to have, the type who's going to help in any way he can."
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Paul pitched in 11 points, three assists, three rebounds, a steal, and a blocked shot. He guarded Chase Wilson, Wissahickon's catalyst, for most of the second half.
"He's a pretty good outside shooter," Paul said of Wilson, who finished with 21 points but shot 4 for 16 from the field. "I tried to stay up on him as much as possible, knowing I would get support from my teammates if needed."
The Colonials, who forced 19 turnovers with their pressure, improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the American Conference; the Trojans dropped to 3-2 and 2-1.
"We expected to be a little more under control than we were," Wissahickon coach Kyle Wilson said. "We didn't come down and run many offensive sets. We got into too much of a one-on-one game."
For PW, Jimmy Murray netted 27 points, including four three-pointers, and added five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Fellow junior guard Andre Mitchell scored 12 of his 20 points in the second quarter.
"They've been playing together for years," Paul said of the guards. "They complement each other well, have a good feel for where the other is going to be on the floor."
Down by 23-14, the Colonials closed the first half with a 14-3 run. A 9-0, tying spurt was highlighted by Mitchell's follow shot, Murray's right-side scoring drive, and Mitchell's left-side connection.
"We try to be an aggressive, man-to-man team," Donofrio said. "Without a real inside presence, we need to do that."
Ahead by 49-45 in the fourth quarter, PW gained breathing room on Murray's fastbreak layup and three-pointer from the right wing. Later, his pull-up in the lane and trey from up top made it 58-46.
T.J. Minetola, a 6-3 senior forward for the Colonials, added six boards, four blocks, and three assists.
Wissahickon 17 9 14 16 – 56
Plymouth Whitemarsh 7 21 13 28 – 69
W: Chase Wilson 21, Steve Driscoll 3, Jared Reed 4, Chris Vila 13, Todd Bentley 10, Chris Carradorini 3, Brandon Pace 2.
PW: Andre Mitchell 20, Jimmy Murray 27, T.J. Minetola 2, Cameron Johnson 6, Manuel Herezi 3, Brett Paul 11.