– 2021 RECAP –

by: Mike Toth

The 47th Annual Triangle Basketball Tournament had a new home in 2021. LaSalle High School College Explorer’s (Springfield, PA) stepped up to host this long running high school boys classic after a pandemic break in 2020. Host team LaSalle picked up the tournament title with a convincing 66-45 win over the Norristown Eagles.

In first night action coach Kyle Wilson and his Wissahickon Trojans locked horns with coach Binky Johnson and the Norristown Eagles. These two schools have along history and rivalry dating back to the old Ambler High School days. Many fans from both schools came out to watch the action. Wissahickon is rebuilding from a nice District One playoff birth last season. Norristown did not play any basketball games during the 2020-21 campaign due to the pandemic.

Both schools were anxious to get the new 2021-22 season under way. Norristown had many seniors on their roster and came out hungry. The defense on both teams help create sloppy play early in this contest. At halftime the Eagles were leading the Trojans 29-20. Shaking the rust off in the second half Norristown pulled off a 57-46 victory in front of a very raucous crowd. The senior back court duo of Zaki Gomez (15 points) and D.J. Johnson (13 points) helped secure the Eagles victory. Josh Twersky (6’4″ senior) and Earl Stout (5’10” junior) were top scorers for Wissahickon with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The first night finale matched up Germantown Academy and LaSalle. Germantown Academy had numerous injuries and illnesses on their roster and was shorthanded. The large excited crowd was ready for a tough game. However, coach Matt Dolan’s Patriots just could not handle Mike McKee’s Explorer’s. LaSalle’s veteran squad came out strong and ran out to 37-9 halftime lead. The final score was 60-20 in one of the most lopsided games in recent tournament memory. LaSalle’s Chris Williams played a real fine floor game and tossed in 16 points to lead the charge. Inside the paint, Horace Simmons (6’6″ junior) was dominate and added 10 points. Blake Smith, Germantown’s 6’6′ senior, was the only Patriot to find the hoop scoring 11 points.

The second night of the two day tournament saw another big crowd turn out to see local high school basketball. Coach Matt Dolan’s Germantown Academy team put up a better fight this time around battling Wissahickon tooth and nail from the get go. Wissahickon led 24-23 at the half. The Trojans’ held a slim 38-35 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. The fans for both teams were roaring down the stretch as Earl Stout made all 4 of his fourth quarter free throws to help Wissahickon pull off a hard fought 58-51 win. Germantown Academy had a much better balanced attack in this consolation game. Once again, Blake Smith led the Patriot’s with a game high 18 points. He had support from fellow teammates Leo McElroy (9 points), Luke Marvin (8 points) and freshman Bryce Rollerson (8 points). Wissahickon had a well balanced attack with Josh Twersky (18 points), Rondale Stewart (14 points) and Earl Stouts (13 points) all hitting double figures for coach Kyle Wilson.

In 47th Annual Triangle Basketball Tournament final LaSalle was going to battle against Norristown. The first half was just what the large crowd was hoping for. Coach Mike McKee’s squad was holding onto a tight halftime 26-22 lead. However, Binky Johnson’s Norristown players were piling up the personal fouls. LaSalle slowly pulled away to a 43-32 advantage in the third period. The Explorer’s took advantage of the many free throw’s and canned 16 of 23 attempts in this contest. Plus, coach McKee engineered a tough pressing defense and his team got many steals and fast break layups in the second half. Tournament MVP Chris Williams (6’3″ senior) was a key driving force in the rally. LaSalle overmatched the Eagles in the 4th quarter 23-10 and ended up walking away with a convincing 66-45 victory to claim the tournament title. Senior Nix Varano (Army recruit) was top scorer for LaSalle with a game high 24. Chris Williams tallied 15 before sitting out most of the 4th quarter. Senior sharp shooter John Dinolfi was the only Eagle in double figures with 15 points. Dinolfi tosses in 3 treys. Zaki Gomez (9 points) and D.J. Johnson (8 points) made strong contributions for Norristown.

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