NORWICH – Norwich never loosened its grip on the championship trophy in defending its Pennysaver Tournament title Saturday night at Jack Jones Gymnasium.
The Tornado breezed to a pair of victories, and won the 30th annual tournament in convincing fashion Saturday against Greene, 49-19.
The tournament’s most valuable player, Hannah Runyon, didn’t need to play a minute in the fourth quarter finishing with 10 points as the Tornado improved their record on the young season to 3-1 overall.
“I hope this is something that gives our team confidence,” said Norwich coach Josh Bennett, who admitted his players are not that familiar with blowout wins. “It seems like the last two years, we’ve had to gut out every game. These games were different for me to coach.”
Bennett gave ample playing time to all nine players availed to him, and every player scored at least three pionts.
Runyon had six points in the first quarter, and Molly DeMellier connected for five – including a three-pointer – as Norwich blanked Greene for eight minutes to take a 13-0 lead. Norwich padded the lead to 27-4 at halftime getting eight points off the bench, and a pair of baskets from junior starter Bryn Loomis. Greene head coach Dave Gorton saw the writing on the wall by the end of the first stanza.
“We felt that if we could survive the first quarter, we’d have a chance,” Gorton said. “We didn’t survive the first quarter. Our defense was good against a really good offensive team, but our inexperience really showed.”
Greene had its best moments in the third quarter, but only lopped two points off the Norwich margin as the Tornado maintained a 34-13 after three stanzas. “This is a group that is hungry and driven,” Bennett said. “It was nice to see some of the girls that don’t get a lot of minutes at times really contribute a lot.”