By Patrick Newell
Sun Sports Editor
BINGHAMTON – Foul trouble limited Norwich’s usual aggressiveness, and Horseheads converted three layups over the final 90 seconds against the Tornado’s frenetic, full-court press to hand the Purple Tornado junior varsity a 40-32 defeat in the semifinals of the STAC playoffs, Thursday at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
It was just the second loss for Norwich (16-2), who made up an 11-point deficit in the first half to lead at different junctures of the second and third quarters. “It just wasn’t our day,” said Norwich junior varsity head coach Joe Cirigliano. “They did a nice job denying our passes to the wings, and they made it tough to run our offense. They were also all over the offensive boards.”
Norwich’s rebounding took a big hit early in the fourth quarter when starting forward and leading rebounder Elisha Eddy picked up her fourth and fifth fouls 16 seconds apart on loose ball fouls that were 50-50 calls at worst. Eddy led Norwich in scoring at that point with eight points, but the Purple JV was forced to play the final 7:02 without a key starter.
Leading scorer Hannah Runyon, who wound up with nine points, had three fouls before halftime and four fouls midway through the fourth limiting her normal tenacity as well.
“Foul trouble really killed us,” Cirigliano said. “We kind of struggled with early jitters and were a little unfocused, but we relaxed in the second half and battled back hard.”