WEST NORRITON >> The Norristown boys basketball team finished its season on a high note Friday night, knocking off Cheltenham, 81-74, at Norristown Area High School.
Seniors Roy Green and Darryl Carr combined for 52 points in their final high school game to help the Eagles pull off the upset.
“They showed out tonight,” Norristown coach Mike Evans said of Green and Carr. “We asked them to leave it on the floor and they did just that for us tonight. Hats off to those guys, good they got a win in their last game on this floor. Glad they went out with a win.”
Green finished with a game-high 29 points and Carr added 23. The two played their best when it mattered most, with the score tight in the fourth quarter. They combined for 23 of Norristown’s 28 fourth-quarter points.
“I thought Darryl stepped it up big,” Green said. “He was pushing me in this game … We stuck together as a team and we pulled it out.”
Carr hit a three-pointer 30 seconds into the fourth to tie the game at 56. On Norristown’s next possession, Green made a basket to tie the game at 58. Tyrique Lyons went 1-for-2 from the free throw line with 6:50 left to break the 58-58 tie and Norristown led the rest of the way.
Carr was 7-for-8 from the line in the fourth.
The Eagles (10-12, 7-7) led by two, 71-69, with less than two minutes to play. Green hit a three to make it a five-point lead and, after a Cheltenham basket, he made back-to-back layups to give Norristown a 78-71 edge and ice the game with 40 seconds left.
“The coach said execute,” Green said. “There wasn’t much time left on the clock so every little thing mattered. I just had to hurry up and finish.”
The Panthers (16-6, 10-4) made it a tight game with a fierce comeback in the third quarter. Cheltenham came out of the half trailing, 39-28, and were able to tie the game at 44 in less than four minutes.
Senior Anthony White scored the Panthers first 11 points of the third and 15 in the entire quarter.
Cheltenham coach John Timms believes it was the defense that helped his team get back in the game. He also said the game was called very tightly and his team’s inability to adjust cost them. The stats – Norristown shooting 44 free throws and making 31 of them – back up Timms’ point.
“Not to use this as an excuse, but the refs allowed us to play defense in the second half,” Timms said of the quick third-quarter turnaround. “The first half those guys had 20 points from the free throw line. This is consistent with Cheltenham. This is something we have to fight and try to win in spite of. It’s not as if we don’t foul, but I’m sure other teams foul, as you saw in the second half. It balanced itself out with the score because the fouls balanced out … It’s hard to play defense when the referee controls how you play defense. They took some of our aggression away early … We have to learn how to make adjustments to the referee.
“I would say our defense was a problem. It goes hand in hand … You give up 80 points, it’s defense.”
Anthony and Khalil White each scored 18 for the Panthers, Trevonn Pitts added 15 and Amir Lewis 13.
Cheltenham entered this week ninth in the unofficial District One AAAA power rankings before going 1-2 with a win against Wissahickon and losses to Plymouth Whitemarsh and Norristown. Timms thinks the Panthers won’t fall out of the top 16 – which secures them one home game – but won’t jump into the top eight – which would get them a second home game.
“I think we’ll get one home game for sure,” Timms said. “But we don’t deserve two home games right now. We have to win on the road. On the season, our only loss at home is to PW by two. We know we can win at home. The problem is can we win on the road? We deserve to be on the road.”
“We had to play spoiler,” Evans said. “That’s what we did tonight.”
Cheltenham will find out its fate Sunday morning when the seedings are finalized. The district playoffs start Friday Feb. 12.