BINGHAMTON – This time, Johnson City did not spot Norwich a 20-point lead at halftime.
The Wildcats survived Norwich’s lights-out first quarter, and held the Tornado to a season-low point total to capture the Stop-DWI Holiday Classic Regional One title Wednesday night at the Broome County Arena, 55-50.
It was Norwich’s sixth appearance in the DWI tournament finals, and fourth defeat. “That’s two years in a row where we came up short in the finals, and that’s frustrating,” said Norwich head coach Mark Abbott. “At the same time, we know we’re doing some good things to get invited (to this tournament) and play the best of the best in the area. It gives us a sense of pride that we are among the best teams year in and year out.”
JC avenged a seven-point loss to Norwich earlier this month, a contest in which the NHS (6-2) stormed to a 29-9 halftime lead, and withstood the Wildcats’ second-half surge.
This time around, JC was without 6-foot-4 powerhouse Daquan Jones, who was out of the area playing in an all-star football game. Seeing more time on the floor in Jones’ stead was forward Rashawn Powell. Powell, who scored four points in the first meeting, led his team with 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting, while also collecting numerous blocked shots and double-digit rebounds.