NORMAL — Committing three turnovers before it scored a point, the Normal Community High School basketball team had issues to resolve against Decatur Eisenhower's pressure defense.
Those adjustments were made quickly and points came in similarly rapid fashion Tuesday as the Ironmen pummeled the Panthers, 71-41, in a nonconference game.
"They did a good job early switching between half court trap and man-to-man defense. It was a little bit confusing," NCHS coach Dave Witzig said. "But I thought our defense was great tonight."
The Ironmen (17-5) limited their former Big 12 Conference rivals to five points apiece in the first and fourth quarters.
"The coaches told us to clog the paint on defense and not allow them to get into the paint very much," said the Ironmen's Jalen Coleman. "We did a good job slowing them down so that we didn't go too fast and turn the ball over."
NCHS closed the first quarter on a 14-1 spurt for an 18-5 advantage with Coleman and CJ Christian each scoring seven points in the period.
"When Jalen is shooting threes and making nice moves to the basket like that, it's a big help for our offense," Witzig said.
The Ironmen boosted their lead to 25-8 before settling for a 35-21 margin entering halftime.
Eisenhower (7-12) bombed in 3-pointers from Yansyn Taylor, Cameron Rowe and Keon Jones in the opening 1:51 of the third quarter to pull within 39-30. But Coleman's 3-pointer halted the run, and Christian's corner shot from beyond the arc with two seconds left in the quarter extended the NCHS lead to 53-36.
"We did a good job swinging the ball and getting our shots," said Coleman, who scored a season-high 19 points.
CJ Wilbourn matched Coleman with 19 points, Christian added 16 and Daylen Boddie 10.
"If you see four guys in double figures, that's a good night for the Ironmen," Witzig said.
NCHS shot a sizzling 61 percent from the floor (30 of 49) and outrebounded the Panthers, 34-16, behind nine boards from Christian and eight from Wilbourn.
Jones' 13 points paced Eisenhower, which connected on just 15 of 47 shots for 32 percent.
"We contained them. They didn't get many fast break layups," said Witzig. "I thought our halfcourt man-to-man was pretty good. We made it tough for them to score."