Norwich 72, Chenango Forks 23
NORWICH – In a contest where seemingly everything went right and a handful of players were obvious factors in a blowout victory, the first person Norwich head coach Mark Abbott singled out was one who did not score a point.
“The typical fan may not have noticed the great job David Carson did today,” Abbott said of his senior forward. “He didn’t score, but he had a number of outstanding post entries to Vaughn Labor and he set tremendous screens. We identified two guys on their team who we needed to stop: Redfern (Casey) and Jeske (Mike). David pretty much shut Redfern down, and Jeske banked in a three for his only basket. It’s efforts like that, that generally go unnoticed by the casual fan, but that’s what makes teams successful.”
What was of the sit-up-and-take-notice variety was the smothering defense by the Tornado. Norwich set a new defensive record allowing the fewest points in the shot-clock era. The performance was punctuated by a scoreless defensive third quarter – just the second time that has happened in Abbott’s 23-year tenure. “I watched the tape of the game, and defensively we were just everywhere,” Abbott said. “We had great communication, great lateral movement, we switched on the dribble handoffs, and guys were jumping at the dribbler.”
Forks had several scoreless droughts throughout the game of at least three minutes. Norwich contested every pass, every dribbler, and every shot. The Blue Devils were forced into two 10-second violations for failing to cross halfcourt, and also had a 35-second-clock shot violation – and that was before the scoreless third stanza.