Kehler on Hoops: Norristown Defeats Bensalem 50-46

Written by: on Saturday, February 26th, 2022

 

NORRISTOWN AREA DEFEATS BENSALEM 50-46

Visiting Norristown Area never trailed in a PIAA District 1 Class 6A quarterfinal on Friday night, defeating Bensalem 50-46. Although Norristown built a double digit lead in the second quarter, gritty Bensalem tied the game twice in the second half and launched a furious late comeback.

Both teams opened in man-to-man defenses, and Norristown’s defense in the first quarter was superb, aggressively pressuring Bensalem’s ball handling guards. Norristown forced four turnovers in the first three minutes of the game, and Bensalem quickly fell behind, 11-3. The first seven minutes of the game were very uptempo, with both teams running at every opportunity. Norristown’s biggest lead of the first quarter was nine points, following a three pointer by sophomore Myon Kirlew.

Norristown had Bensalem on the ropes after eight minutes of play, but, inexplicably, they switched to a zone defense in the second quarter and played zone for much of the rest of the game. Bensalem also went to a 2-3 zone at the beginning of the second quarter, and Norristown opened the scoring in the second frame with a three pointer by senior John Dinolfi, who had been effective inside in the first quarter. That three put Norristown up 17-7. Midway through the second quarter, a fast break layup by Norristown senior Zaki Gomez gave his team a 22-11 lead. Following that score, both teams played frantically, running up and down the floor and exchanging turnovers, as the offensive structures of both squads suffered. Norristown led 24-16 at the half, their final score in the second quarter being a spectacular dunk by senior Greg Mobley.

In the third quarter, Bensalem attacked inside with very good play by 6′ 7″ senior Allen Myers. Myers outscored Norristown 6-2 at the beginning of the third quarter, as Bensalem’s guards were able to pass the ball to him inside. Norristown’s shot selection was much less disciplined in the third quarter than it had been earlier in the game. Down 31-22, Bensalem launched a 9-0 run to tie the game at 31 on a hoop inside by Myers, a steal and breakaway layup by 6′ 1″ senior Aaron Sanders, a three pointer by 6′ 2″ senior Tra Edwards, and a fast break layup by 5′ 10″ sophomore Antonio Morris. The balance of the game was close from that point, although Bensalem never took the lead. Bensalem tied the game for the third and last time in the contest at 36 on another three pointer by Edwards, but Norristown responded with a three pointer by senior D. J. Johnson, who scored nine points in the final frame. Bensalem tried to spread the court, but they missed a shot, leading to a jumper by Dinolfi, which gave Norristown a 41-36 lead with 4:06 to play. Jeremy Rodriguez, a 6′ Bensalem senior, was excellent down the stretch, keeping his team in the game with a drive, a three pointer, and a three point play in answer to Norristown scores. That three point play by Rodriguez cut Norristown’s lead to 48-46 with 18 seconds left in the game. Twice in the final seconds of the game, Norristown had difficulty inbounding the ball, but they finally succeeded and held on for the win.

Norristown was out rebounded 30 to 25, and they had just three offensive rebounds in the game. Norristown committed 10 turnovers to 14 for Bensalem. Bensalem had 10 turnovers in the first half. Norristown was 10 of 17 from the foul line, and Bensalem was 10 of 15. Norristown made five three pointers, with four of their players hitting from behind the arc. Bensalem made three three pointers, all of them in the second half.

Both teams have qualified for the PIAA Class 6A state championship tournament.

Norristown Area scoring: D. J. Johnson 11, John Dinolfi 9, Zaki Gomez 9, Righteous Mitchell 9, Myon Kirlew 7, Nasir Williams 3, and Greg Mobley 2.

Bensalem scoring: Jeremy Rodriguez 18, Allen Myers 10, Tra Edwards 9, Aaron Sanders 6, Antonio Morris 2, and Eric Gonzalez 1

Norristown Area 14 10 9 17-50
Bensalem 7 9 15 15-46

 

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