NORWICH – David needed one more stone for his slingshot to slay Goliath.
Susquehanna Valley survived Norwich’s late rally, and held on for a 54-53 victory over the Purple Tornado Wednesday night in each club’s Southern Tier Athletic Conference Central Division opener.
The Sabers held a vast size advantage over Norwich at nearly every position, and used that edge to slowly gain control of the game in the second half. The Sabers put together a 10-2 run early in the fourth quarter to break away from a 40-40 tie after three periods.
Predictably, SV went to 6-foot-7 senior forward Brendon Normile whenever possible. When Normile wasn’t available, 6-foot-6 senior Trenton Benton controlled the interior. Normile had six points during the Sabers’ pivotal fourth-quarter spurt, and a game-high 19 points.
“They have a really good team, and they are much bigger than us,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier. “But we battled all the way, and it came down to one shot.”
SV seemed to have control of the game when Josh Swanger intercepted a crosscourt pass from Norwich, and took the ball the distance for a 53-47 lead with 1:11 to play. From there, Norwich was all heart and guts in scraping back into the contest.
Kyle Edwards drew a foul on a drive to the basket, and drained both freebies to close the deficit to 53-49. Following an SV turnover – one of 23 forced by the hustling Tornado – Seth Thomsen’s driving baseline floater from five feet touched down at the bottom of the net trimming the SV lead to 53-51 with 50 seconds left.
Susquehanna Valley’s final point – and decisive one as well – was recorded after Austin Simon made one of two free throws with 33 seconds remaining.