POUGHKEEPSIE – Peekskill was not about to blow Norwich off the floor in the New York State Class A regional semifinals Wednesday night at Vassar College.
The Red Devils, instead, outworked Norwich on the glass, tracked down a few more loose ball scrambles, and advanced in the state playoffs with a 47-36 victory.
Peekskill, perennial state playoff – and state championship – contenders, meet up with Section IX champion Cornwall Friday night.
“I watched Norwich play against Elmira, and I was impressed with them,” said Peekskill coach Lou Panzanaro, he of 18 Section I titles and five state titles. “Norwich plays hard and plays with a lot of intensity. I told my kids they would be in for a ballgame.”
Peekskill played the role of frontrunner from the get-go jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the first quarter.
Josh Borfitz’s three ball with 3:45 left in the quarter broke the scoreless drought, and Vaughn Labor put back an offensive rebound narrowing the first-quarter margin to four.
Peekskill was able to re-grow its lead to 14 points midway through the second quarter. Jayme Gooding and Ralph Watts had a three-pointer apiece and added two-bucket jumpers as well, the latter by Watts made it 21-7 with 4;12 left in the half.
Norwich’s primary goal for the first half – keeping the game score manageable --was slipping away quickly. Dismaying to NHS were 10 first-half turnovers, and in-your-face defense by the Red Devils that made dribbling, passing and shooting – the most fundamental of basketball skills – difficult to say the least.