Oneonta 51, Norwich 47
NORWICH – Oneonta handled Norwich quite easily in the first meet several weeks ago. The Yellowjackets found the Tornado almost too difficult to handle Tuesday night eking out a road win.
Andrew Tenace, who missed the front end of two one-and-one foul shot attempts in the final minute, sealed the Yellowjackets’ win making both free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining.
“I’m not sure they took us lightly, and knowing their coach (Jerry Mackey), I think he would have his team as prepared as they needed to be,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “You wonder if a team would have the same focus after winning so easily, but right from the opening tap, we showed that we would be around the full 32 minutes.”
Oneonta led by seven at halftime and stretched the lead to 11 thanks to a Dan O’Brien three ball at the 30-second horn, and a Tenace foul shot that made it 35-24 with 5:12 left in the quarter.
Norwich found seams in the Oneonta zone finishing the quarter on an 11-2 run. Amos Parry scored six straight points for Norwich, the last a mid-range jumper to close the game to 35-30.
Alex Mirabito hit a runner in the lane for Oneonta to up the lead back to seven before Robert Martin drove for a Norwich layup and Shane Thompson pumped in a three ball from the right corner with 13 seconds left in the quarter paring the margin to 37-35.
Norwich traded baskets with Oneonta early in the fourth, and a tremendous individual play by Martin set up his tying three. Martin made a diving steal in front of the Oneonta bench, and then drained a long-range three from several feet behind the arc tying the game at 45-45 with 3:06 to play.
Alex Van Deusen put Oneonta ahead for good hitting two foul shots, and Mirabito sunk another short jumper in the lane padding the margin.
“I love our team; they are one of my all-time favorites. Our 9-7 record does not describe this team,” Abbott said. “Tonight was a question of us believing we could win. A lot of our preparation was from a mental standpoint... we’re not into moral victories, but beyond that, we proved to ourselves we can play with the best team in the league.”