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Norristown’s defense smothers Upper Merion

Norristown's Tyler Lyons battles Upper Merion’s Austin Moucer for possession of a loose ball. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

WEST NORRITON >> Norristown never surrendered an inch.

The Eagles defense made Upper Merion work for every dribble and every pass Tuesday night.

As a result, Norristown forced 35 turnovers and cruised to a 67-34 win at Norristown Area High School.

“As a coach, I’m an old school coach,” Norristown coach Dana “Binky” Johnson said. “I always say, ‘Offense wins games, defense wins championships.’ Even our players think it’s a little different that we spend three-quarters of practice working on defense rather than just running sets. We really like to make our defense turn into offense.

“Besides the pressure, we really want to work cohesively as a unit defensively and to get the proper reads and the proper shifts and the proper placement. It takes time. Then you start to know who will gamble and who’s good at trapping and these types of things. I’m learning the team myself. Now we’re starting to see who can do different things now that we have everyone healthy.”

The Eagles (6-4) scored the first 21 points of the game and finished the first quarter with a 22-2 lead after forcing 14 turnovers.

From that point on, they maintained their distance. They led 39-15 at the half, 55-22 after three quarters and 67-34 when the final buzzer sounded.

Tyler Lyons led Norristown with 14 points, Marcus Sanford added nine and Mikeel Allen and Willie Anderson each had eight.

The Vikings (2-12) didn’t make their first field goal until the 6:50 mark of the second quarter.

“There’s not one specific problem,” Upper Merion coach Jason Quenzer said of his team’s offensive struggles. “There’s a lot that we need to address. This weather and this schedule has not been our friend. We haven’t practiced in 15 days and it shows. When other teams have a chance to prepare for you and you don’t really have a chance to prepare for them except for on a white board. We talk and it’s tough. We’re a team that needs a lot and when you come out against a team like Norristown, who is going to make you pay for every single turnover, it’s going to be tough to escape here down 30, let alone 40.”

Austin Moucer and Nick Shepperd each scored six points for the Vikings.

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