Norwich 67, Owego 49
OWEGO – Making its longest road trip of the season, coming off an emotional win earlier in the week, and playing with two starters out of the lineup, a subpar performance for Norwich was a distinct possibility.
Instead of any type of letdown, the Purple Tornado (12-1, 14-2) blitzed Owego in the first quarter outscoring the Indians 20-6. After that, Norwich was able to relax and cruise to an 11th straight Southern Tier Athletic Conference league win, and 11th straight over Owego. The victory also assured Norwich of co-Central Division champion status. Assuming Maine-Endwell is able to get by Oneonta this Wednesday, M-E and NHS will meet for the outright division title in a playoff game Friday, Feb. 12.
“It’s a long way from 1-1 (in the division) to being 12-1 now,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “That’s a lot of good basketball over the last two months.”
Abbott admitted it wasn’t and ideal situation missing starters Casey Edwards (away on a college visitation), and Andrew Austin (illness). Seth Thomsen and Alex Williams stepped in as starters, and maintained Norwich’s high expectations on the defensive end of the floor.
Offensively Josh Borfitz and Richie Bonney combined for 48 points. Borfiz hit two early three balls and scored nine in the first quarter, while Bonney tacked on seven. Borfitz, who had just 26 total points over the last four games, scored a career-high 30, a night that included five three balls. Bonney was just a shade under his scoring averaging netting 18 to go with 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. Thomsen snared 11 rebounds, and Derek Hughes led with 13 assists added to his seven points.
“The last few games, Josh hasn’t scored a lot, but he hasn’t had a high number of shot attempts either,” Abbott said. “Josh is a good enough student of the game to know that with the players we have, he doesn’t have to force shots. Some nights it someone else’s turn, and sometimes it is his turn. Tonight, it was definitely his turn.”
If Maine-Endwell happens to lose to Oneonta this Wednesday, Norwich will be idle until a Feb. 17 date at Elmira Southside in the STAC playoffs.
NHS: Dennis Oralls, 2 0-0-5; Richie Bonney, 7 4-5-18; Jacob Kelly, 1 0-1-2; Frank Somich, 0; Josh Borfitz, 10 5-6-30; Seth Thomsen, 1 0-4-3; Jon Foulds, 1 0-0-2; Alex Williams, 0; Derek Hughes, 1 5-6-7; Josh Favaloro, 0 0-2-0; Zach Martinson, 0. Totals: 23 14-24-67.
Owego: Parker Evans, 3 1-2-7; Matt Warchocki, 1 4-6-6; Scott Larrabee, 2 0-0-5; Stephen Yanchus, 4 2-2-11; Kenny Sharpe, 0 0-2-0; Joe Gatto, 0; Mike Ebbers, 2 0-0-4; Mark Merritt, 8 0-0-16; James Mead, 0; Asa Whalen, 0. Totals: 20 7-12-49.
NHS 20 14 21 12–67
Ow 6 15 17 11–49
Fouled out: none. Three-point goals: (N) Borfitz 5, Oralls, Thomsen, (O) Larabee, Yanchus. JV: Norwich won 58-42. Officials: Haynes, McPeek.
Norwich 33, Owego 30
NORWICH – Norwich did some damage control Saturday afternoon on senior recognition day, and came out of a four-game swoon to avenge a loss to Owego.
Senior Elisha Eddy made a story-book return to the lineup after missing her team’s first 14 games recovering from an illness. Eddy scored just four points, but she canned two free throws – the tying and go-ahead points – with 12.7 seconds left to give Norwich a 31-30 lead. Owego’s Lexi Hilliker missed an inside shot on the next possession giving the ball back to the Tornado. Bryn Loomis tacked on two more free throws with 4.1 seconds left – her only points of the game. “How fitting, after all she has been through – and on senior night – Elisha makes the free throws for the win,” said Norwich coach Josh Bennett.