Norwich 53, Oneonta 51
ONEONTA – Norwich survived with its perfect record intact Monday night at Oneonta, but not before a three-point shot at the buzzer by the Yellowjackets’ Ryan Mahon was just long off the back of the rim.
The Tornado won their sixth road game in nine outings making up a seven-point deficit over the game’s final three minutes and 24 seconds. Norwich senior Jacob Kelly hit the tying and go-ahead free throws, Kelly added a clutch 15-foot jumper from the right baseline, and Josh Favaloro provided the winning margin canning a pair of free throws with 20.9 seconds remaining.
“Holy smokes,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott after a long sigh. “We were very fortunate to come out of here with a win tonight. It’s not that we didn’t earn it. We were fortunate to make a couple of plays and get a couple of stops in the fourth quarter.”
Oneonta had Norwich on the ropes in the early part of the fourth quarter. Aaron scored five points in a 10-second span, the first on a three-pointer, and Jacob Van Duesen’s post-up layup with 3:24 left finished an 11-3 run to give Oneonta a 48-41 advantage.
Norwich answered with eight straight points of its own beginning with Seth Thomsen’s inside layup and ensuing foul. Thomsen missed the free toss, but Kelly looped inside for the offensive rebound. That set up Jon Foulds’ drive to the basket that elicted a two-shot foul. Foulds’ free throws cut the Oneonta lead to 48-45. Another NHS stop was followed by Thomsen’s driving basket closing the gap to one point.
Oneonta, shaken by Norwich’s rally, failed to convert when Van Duesen missed a short hook shot. With a chance to take the lead, the Tornado missed from the outside; however, Kelly, known as much for his ability to hit a golf ball as anything else, hustled for a rebound and was fouled – the seventh for Oneonta forcing the one-and-one foul shooting bonus