WEST NORRITON >> Norristown senior Jonathan Brooks is going to be a problem for a lot of opponents this season. The 6-foot-4 forward has power and finesse moves on offense, protects the basket on defense and is tough to keep off the glass on either end of the floor.
Brooks’ talent was on display Tuesday night when his 15 points and 13 rebounds led the Eagles to a 51-43 Pioneer Athletic Conference Liberty Division win over Methacton at Norristown Area High School.
“It was our entire conversation,” Norristown coach Rick Bell said. “It was, ‘This will be a J.B. game tonight. Period. And if everybody is selfless and makes sure that he gets his touches, it will be a J.B. game tonight.’ We had that conversation. He could have gotten more, he should have gotten more touches. Period. There’s a couple of games coming up that will be a J.B. basketball game if the guys are selfless and making sure he’s getting his touches. I had a conversation with him, challenged him and said, ‘This is a game you can really assert yourself.’ I challenged him and he stepped up to the challenge.”
“Grabbing boards and running down the floor on offense,” Brooks said of his big night. “I think I’m more athletic than them. That was my advantage.”
Brooks scored seven of his game-high 15 points in the fourth quarter to help the Eagles (2-5, 1-1 PAC, 1-1 PAC Liberty) erase a five-point deficit after 24 minutes. He made the first two baskets of the quarter to get Norristown within one, 36-35, before splitting free throws to put his side ahead 46-41 with 1:01 remaining. He put the exclamation point on the win with a two-hand dunk to make it 48-41 with 40 seconds left in the game.
Brooks’ first two baskets in the fourth started a 10-0 Norristown run. After trailing by as many as eight – 27-19 and 29-21 – in the third quarter, the Eagles took a 37-36 lead on Jaden Wise’s first basket of the game. He made another to make it a three-point lead and a Jayden Byrd field goal made it 41-36 halfway through the fourth quarter.
After Methacton’s Cam Chilson stopped the 10-0 run with a layup, Wise converted another drive and Byrd hit a pair of free throws to make it 45-38 with under two minutes left in the game. A Matt Christian three-pointer got the Warriors (5-2, 1-1 PAC, 1-1 PAC Liberty) within four, 45-41, but that’s as close as they’d get.
Brooks split his free throws and threw down a dunk to get the lead back to seven and the rivals traded free throws until the final buzzer sounded with Norristown on top, 51-43.
“We played under control,” Bell said of the final eight minutes. “If our guys execute on both ends of the floor the way we teach, practice, it could be good for us. But when they don’t, it’s not so good for us. We’ll keep teaching everything that we do and hopefully it will start to click in. I think it clicked in tonight. We talked about playing selfless basketball and playing for one another. When we do that I think we’re good, and taking care of the basketball. That’s the biggest thing.”
In the final quarter, Norristown made seven shots to Methacton’s two, turned the ball over once to Methacton’s seven and went 6-for-9 from the free-throw line to Methacton’s 2-for-5.
“In the previous games we had a lot of turnovers,” Wise said. “I feel like that hurt us a lot. In the locker room (at halftime) we had four. Coach tried to tell us to get it to zero for the second half. We only had one (in the fourth quarter) and won.”
“Help defense,” Brooks credited for the fourth quarter. “Just help out every ball screen, make sure they don’t get in the paint.”
The Eagles and Warriors played an evenly matched first quarter. Neither side ever led by more than three points and Norristown held a 14-12 advantage after eight minutes. Andre Gordon hit a pair of early threes to help his side to an early lead.
Methacton took the lead in a low-scoring second quarter. Jason Lagana made four free throws in the frame and the Warriors took a 20-19 lead to the half.
Methacton scored the first seven points of the third quarter to take a 27-19 lead, but Norristown responded with 11 of the next 15 points to tie the game, 31-31. Methacton’s Sal Iemmello ended the quarter with a personal 5-0 run to put the Warriors ahead, 36-31.
Brooks was the only Eagles player in double figures. Roddy Gaymon added nine points, Gordon eight and Myon Kirlew seven.
Chilson and Alex Hermann led the Warriors with 10 points apiece. Lagana and Iemmello each added seven.
Norristown is back in action Thursday when it travels to Pottstown. Methacton has a week off before facing Wissahickon Tuesday.
Norristown 51, Methacton 43
Methacton 12 8 16 7 – 43
Norristown 14 5 12 20 – 51
M: Sal Iemmello 2 2-2 7, Evan Spang 0 0-0 0, Cam Chilson 4 1-4 10, Alex Hermann 3 4-5 10, Matt Christian 2 0-0 6, Anthony Daddazio 1 1-2 3, Jason Lagana 1 5-6 7, Preston Hull 0 0-0 0. Total 13 13-19 43.
N: Jaden Wise 3 0-0 6, Roddy Gaymon 4 0-0 9, Andre Gordon 2 2-2 8, Jonathan Brooks 6 3-6 15, Myon Kirlew 2 3-5 7, Jayden Byrd 1 2-3 4, Andre Young 0 0-0 0, Miles Daniels 1 0-0 2. Total 19 10-16 51.
3-point goals: M: Matt Christian 2, Sal Iemmello, Cam Chilson. N: Andre Gordon 2, Roddy Gaymon.