Norwich 64, Susquehanna Valley 40
NORWICH – Norwich is finally in position to repeat as STAC Central Division champions.
The Tornado raced away from the Sabers over the final three periods Friday night at Jack Jones Gymnasium to cruise to the easy win. Next up, Norwich hosts second-place Johnson City Wednesday night for the right to compete in the STAC Championships.
“To be 14-1 overall at this point of the season is a phenomenal accomplishment, and now it all comes down to Wednesday,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “I truly hope we’re playing before a packed house.”
Sus Valley was able to match Norwich basket for basket, or more aptly put, the Sabers were matching the Tornado’s Jon Foulds hoop for hoop over the first eight minutes.
After SV took the initial lead, Foulds began a hot shooting spree where he hit four three-pointers and pulled up for a pair of short jumpers. He had 16 of Norwich’s 18 firt-quarter points, and his three ball from the left wing with 1 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter broke a 15-15 tie and gave Norwich the lead for good.
“I think it was really important for Jon to get off to a good start,” Abbott said. “He’s been struggling with his shot, and our team has been struggling offensively in the first quarter. It was doubly good for Jon, and it relaxed our team.”
Foulds was relatively quiet the rest of the contest finishing with a game-high 20 points, but the rest of the Tornado proved more than able to speak up on the offensive end. Seth Thomsen finished with a double-double scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 boards for his fifth double figures rebounding game in six contests. Dennis Oralls scored nine points and had seven rebounds as NHS enjoyed a 42-33 rebounding edge, one that helped overcome a 37.5 percent shooting night.
Norwich led 34-27 at halftime, before starting the second half on a 12-1 spurt. Thomsen scored eight points during that surge, two of those baskets on offensive rebound putbacks. By the end of the third, the margin was a comfortable 16 points.
The start to this season is the best in several years for Norwich, who won the opening 16 games nearly a decade ago, and won a sectional championship behind leading scorer Nick Brunick. This Norwich team did not return a starter from last year’s Section IV finalist, but will likely have one of the top seeds in the Section IV tournament later this month.
“This is a team that the entire community can take pride in,” Abbott said. “They are selfless, they are humble, and they are extremely hard working. This is a blue-collar team all the way.”