Norwich 72, Susquehanna Valley 48
NORWICH – Norwich made good use of its ability to shift to another gear, and did so almost on command in Thursday night’s victory over Susquehanna Valley at Norwich High School.
The unbeaten Purple Tornado (12-0) toppled Susquehanna Valley for the second time this season picking up the intensity whenever the Sabers built a smidgen of momentum. Norwich also fought off a potential letdown just two days removed from an emotional victory over Oneonta.
“I thought Brian (Collier, assistant coach) gave a great speech before the game,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier. Brian Collier’s oration centered around a team not buying into its own hype. “I think Brian’s speech had an effect on them.”
Michael Oralls posted a double-double for NHS scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Oralls even tossed in a three-pointer, his first of the season, to give Norwich a 49-25 lead early in the third. Mike Sutton had 15 points and five assists, Zan Stewart scored 13, and Jamison Luke came off the bench to score a season-high 11 points, while adding eight rebounds in his most productive game of the season. Storm Cook scored just six points, but dominated the glass with a season-high 16 rebounds.
Norwich used a 13-3 run midway through the opening quarter to take a 22-9 lead. Sutton had 11 in the first quarter and Oralls six. Sus Valley trimmed that margin back, and moved to within 23-18 in the first minute of the second quarter after a pair of Dave Matthews free throws.
Norwich quickly responded with eight straight points, and extended the margin to 44-23 at the break when Stewart canned a 25-foot three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.
The solid bench production of Luke, Matt Craig, and Brendon Budd were singled out by Tom Collier in his post-game analysis. “Matt and Brendon are our eleventh and twelfth guys, but I thought they came in and did a great job for us,” Collier said. “That really is the strength of our team – our depth – and this really is a team from top to bottom.”