BINGHAMTON – A promising start for the Tornado slowly gave way to an unfavorable if not inevitable ending.
Bishop Ludden grabbed the lead for good at the end of the first quarter, and slowly padded its lead over the final three quarters to eliminate Norwich from postseason competition, 56-44, Saturday afternoon at Binghamton High School. The Gaelic Knights advance to the Class B final four at Glens Falls for the first time since the 2001 season. Norwich, meanwhile, remains winless in intersectional postseason play since capturing the second of its back-to-back state titles in 1994.
“They did a great job defensively against us, and that’s a credit to them,” said Norwich first-year head coach Tom Collier. “The bottom line is that Bishop Ludden was the better team today, and the better team won. It’s hard for us to accept that, but that is what sports is all about. We had a great year. Our goal was to win the sectional title, and we did that. The next goal was the get to Glens Falls, and we just fell short.”
Just 20 seconds into the game, Norwich received a dose of how difficult it would be to score on the Knights. Dennis Oralls drove hard for a basket and drew a foul on his shot attempt. As the shot made its way to the rim, Bishop Ludden sophomore center, Daniel Kaigler, leapt and swatted the ball into the partisan-side bleachers. Kaigler had Norwich shooters adjusting their shots the rest of the way, and that was a big factor in the Tornado’s 34 percent shooting night.
“A lot of the credit to our defense goes to Kaigler,” said Ludden head coach Pat Donnelly. “He blocks shots, he rebounds, and he changes the way people play.”