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Positive approach sends Methacton back to PAC title game by topping Norristown, 47-42

Methacton’s Cam Chilson, right, goes up for a shot during a PAC Final Four game Friday at Spring-Ford. (Owen McCue - MediaNews Group)

UPPER PROVIDENCE >> It’s familiar with the oft-mentioned mindset about the difficulty of a team beating an opponent three times in a season.
Familiar, maybe … but not obsessing over it.

Facing that scenario with Norristown Friday, Methacton chose not to put stock in the negative notion. Instead, the Warriors meshed a positive approach with their recent history of playoff success to outlast the Eagles, 47-42, in their Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Six playoff semifinal at Spring-Ford.

Bolstered by a 12-2 run over the final minutes of the third quarter, Methacton (20-2) put itself in position to add another PAC title to its résumé. It will play Pope John Paul II, a 55-43 winner over Phoenixville in the second semifinal, 7 p.m. Tuesday, back at Spring-Ford.

“This group has confidence,” Methacton head coach Pat Lockard said. “Playing a team three times is a challenge to your lineups. Norristown is tough … it’s playing with confidence right now. We knew it was going to be a battle.”

Methacton’s Colin Meyer goes up for a layup during a PAC Final Four game Friday at Spring-Ford. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Norristown’s Righteous MItchell (11) shoots a jumper during a PAC Final Four game Friday at Spring-Ford. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

In contrast to the first two matchups, won by the Warriors by one-sided scores of 69-44 (Jan. 8) and 73-61 (Jan. 18), No. 3 saw the Eagles (17-7) rebound from an early 8-3 deficit to take a 22-21 lead into the locker room. They improved to 24-21 early in the third before Methacton’s big run put it back in the lead for keeps.

Methacton, though, was able to hold firm over the final 1:06 even while D.J. Johnson scored twice in the last 35 seconds. Matt Christian sank a pair of free throws and Colin Meyer added a basket with 14 seconds left to secure its title-game spot.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times,” Norristown head coach Dana “Binky” Johnson agreed. “We had a different level of focus this time. It takes more focus in a game like this, and we showed it.”


Brett Byrne grabbed a share of game scoring honors with 12 points, collecting them from the second quarter on, while teammate Cole Hargrove and Meyer both followed with 11.

The 6-foot-8 Hargrove was a force under the rim, clearing a slew of rebounds at both the offensive and defensive ends and slapping numerous Norristown shots out of the air.

“It was intense out there,” the senior forward noted. “I want to be a leader on the team and win a championship.”

Hargrove had a couple uneasy moments on the floor in the fourth quarter. He fell into foul trouble around the 4:45 mark, and in the final minute he had his legs rolled by two Norristown players while pulling down a loose ball.

But he persevered, hanging in to the end.

“Getting into foul trouble, that impacts not being able to block shots,” Hargrove said. “I have to try and stay as a leader in other ways.”

Methacton’s Cole Hargrove, right, goes up for a block on Norristown’s Righteous Mitchell during a PAC Final Four game Friday at Spring-Ford. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Norristown matched the Warriors at the top end of its scoring lineup. Johnson matched Byrne for the game scoring lead with 12 points, and Righteous Mitchell followed with 11.

Adding more balance to the Eagles’ lineup was Nasir Williams scoring nine points off the bench. Methacton was bolstered by the eight points of Christian.

Then there was the third quarter …

“The third hurt us,” Johnson said. “They (Warriors) were getting points in bunches. We had to be mindful of that.”


One thing on which Johnson thought Norristown improved, from the two regular-season games, was its defense of Hargrove. He had 12 points in the first matchup despite dealing with foul trouble and exploded for 26 in the second meeting, but his points were much harder to come by Friday.

“Previously, we played one-on-one,” Johnson noted. “We did a lot more crowding tonight. We didn’t want him to get into a comfort zone.”

Looking ahead to the championship showdown with PJP, Hargrove made one point requiring focus by him and his teammates.

“We need to try and guard the ways they shoot,” he said.

NOTES >> Lockard on the impact Hargrove has on the hardwood: “Cole draws attention,” he said. “He makes it tough for opponents to finish around the basket.” … Methacton’s recent playoff history features five PAC titles in the past nine years, and the last three — there was no league post-season last year.

Methacton’s Jason Lagana, center, is fouled on a drive by Norristown’s Zaki Gomez, left, during a PAC Final Four game Friday at Spring-Ford. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Norristown’s Nasir Williams, left, shoots over Methacton’s Brett Byrne in front of the Methacton student section during a PAC Final Four game Friday at Spring-Ford. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)

Methacton’s Cole Hargrove goes up for a shot on Norristown’s Rayshawn Stinson. (Owen McCue – MediaNews Group)




Date Time League Season
02/11/2022 6:00 pm PAC 2021


1Zaki Gomez12204
11Righteous Mitchell500111
12Myon Kirlew02202
13Nasir Williams31129
14DJ Johnson600012
35John DiNofli10202
44Rayshawn Stinson10002


1Anthony Daddazio00000
2Matt Blakemore10002
3Jason Lagana01201
11Brett Byrne446012
13Cole Hargrove502111
15Colin Meyer500111
15Cameron Chilson10002
24Matt Christian22228

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