Corning East 58, Norwich 55
OWEGO – Two outstanding individual plays by Corning East guard Sean Rowe lifted the Vikings to a stunning victory over Norwich in the Section IV Class A playoffs Wednesday in Owego.
Rowe scored six points in about a 10-second span finishing with 24 points. His turnaround three-pointer from well behind the three-point arc – and after rubbing off three screens – tied the game. Rowe was fouled on the play and completed a three-point play putting East up 56-55. On the next possession, Rowe stole the Norwich pass and was fouled setting up two more made free throws.
Robert Martin’s three-point shot for Norwich at the buzzer went off the front of the rim. “To make a shot like Rowe did, going from the right wing to the left win...it just leaves you speechless,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “We battled so hard to get back in the game and take the lead. We felt maybe we had it, and to see that type of shot go up, you feel good about it until it went in.”
Rowe and teammate Jon Cramer had seven points apiece in the first quarter putting their club up 24-13. In about a one-minute span, the Vikings scored 10 straight points to turn an 11-10 game into an 11-point margin. East racked up 38 points by halftime, the most any team scored against Norwich in the first half this season.
“We said at halftime that we cannot give up 38 points in a half and have a chance to win,” Abbott said. “We needed to tighten up defensively, and were able to do that.”
Wade Kornegay hit a trio of three balls in the second half, and Amos Parry had eight in the second half including two free throws with 1:01 left for the 55-52 lead.
Martin led Norwich (11-9) with 15 points, Kornegay added 13, and Parry had 10. Of those nine losses, Norwich was leading or tied in the fourth quarter of eight of them. “I would say eight of those nine losses, the game was on the fence,” Abbott said. “By the same token, we had about a half-dozen games that we won that could have gone either way. We played a lot of close games this year, and you win some and lose some. We never lost due to a lack of effort, and we never, ever quit. That’s what this team will be remembered for: It’s unselfishness and work ethic.”