BINGHAMTON – A notoriously slow starter, Norwich is proving it’s an even better finisher.
A 20-point deficit with five minutes left in the third quarter? No problem at all.
Using a fast and furious comeback born of one defensive stop at a time, a second-half Purple avalanche enveloped front-running Chenango Valley Friday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in a 56-50 victory in the Section IV Class B championship game.
It was the fifth section title for Norwich (16-5), who will meet Section III champion Bishop Ludden this Saturday at 3 p.m. at Binghamton High School. The state-ranked Gaelic Knights defeated Bishop Grimes Sunday in the Carrier Dome for the right to represent their section.
“To have a comeback in a game of this magnitude, people will always remember a section title,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier, “but I think people will be talking about this game long after I’m gone.”
Norwich beat Chenango Valley in each of its two meetings this season, one for the Stop-DWI title on this very court, and the other at the Warriors’ home venue. At no point in either of those games did the Tornado face nearly the adversity it encountered Friday. “CV was hitting shots in the first half and playing great defense,” said Norwich junior Kyle Edwards, who scored a game-high 17 for the Tornado.
Edwards’ sentiment upon seeing the 20-point deficit early in the third quarter echoed perhaps the feeling of his entire team. “I thought, ‘wow, we have a long way to go,’” the junior guard said. “But we’ve been down before and came back, so we knew we could do it.”
Norwich had a pair of late-season experiences to draw upon as it embarked on its rally. In a four-point loss to Johnson City, it trailed by 26 points, but cut it back to a one-possession game. NHS also trailed Union-Endicott by more than 25 points, and trimmed that margin back to a two-possession game.