Norwich 58, Unatego 31
NEW BERLIN – While the UV Holiday Tournament has not always brought the Purple Tornado good tidings and cheer, Thursday night was a good start toward rectifying those past disappointments after a thoroughly convincing win over Unatego.
The Spartans, who came in with just one defeat, were never in the game after the first period, and did not reach the 30-point mark until the final minute of the game. It was the fourth time this season Norwich (7-2) has held an opponent under 40 points, and the victory extended its winning streak to six games. “We definitely played strong defense tonight,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “We got to the shooters we needed to get to, we limited second shots, and we forced them into some tough shots. That aspect of the game we were very strong.”
Norwich led 17-9 after a period as Patrick Coates scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the opening stanza. Only a three ball by Unatego’s Alex Hendrickson as the last points of the stanza kept the margin under double digits.
That small moral victory quickly moved by the wayside when Norwich held the Spartans to just one field goal the entire second quarter, and just one point over the final six minutes of the half to extend an eight-point lead to 21 at halftime.
The lead was as big as 30 points in the second half, and if not for Kyle Falkenmeyer’s three ball for Unatego with 30 seconds left, the Spartans would not have reached the 30-point mark. “We didn’t score as many points, but I thought we did a better job on offense in the second half,” Abbott said. “We made the extra pass, we didn’t settle for jump shots.
“The big thing, though, is winning and getting to the championship game. We were able to do that.”
Vaughn Labor contributed 13 points for Norwich, who are now 5-0 on the road this season.
Norwich: Tim Clark, 3 1-1-8; Jeff Handy, 0; Patrick Coates, 7 3-4-18; Corey Dietrich, 1 0-0-2; Nate Foote, 1 0-0-2; Josh Borfitz, 1 2-2-4; Vaughn Labor, 4 5-6-13; Tyler Saroka, 1 0-0-2; David Carson, 1 1-2-3; Brian Wightman, 1 0-2-2; Justin Ballin, 1 0-0-2; Cory Law, 0; Craig Berg, 1 0-0-2. Totals: 22 12-17-58.