Evening Sun Report
Norwich 68, Owego 46
OWEGO – For the first time this season, Norwich didn’t connect on a three-pointer, and not one player scored more than 11 points.
After the first quarter, those statistics were relegated to insignificance as the Purple Tornado remained unbeaten at 14-0, and dealt the Indians their first home loss of the season.
“We struggled in the first quarter, especially with the footing, but we were able to make the adjustment,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier. “We started to pull away in the second quarter, and we took control in the third quarter.”
Owego was held to six individual free throws – and no field goals – in the second quarter as Norwich stretched its lead to 29-16 at the break. Michael Oralls and Zan Stewart were the lone NHS players to score four points in the second, and that paved the way for a dominant third.
Oralls and senior Michael Sutton had 12 of their team’s points, and Oralls layup at the third-quarter horn raised the NHS lead to 47-29 after three periods.
From there, it was simply mop-up time for NHS, who clinched at least a tie for the STAC East division title. “I felt Sutty came out and made some great plays in the third quarter,” Collier said. “The entire second half, we played very unselfish, we made the extra passes, and had a lot of easy layups.”
Equally impressive was the Norwich defense in holding Owego’s top scorers, Will Gladney and Brendan Hathaway, well below their season averages. The two Indians were limited to single-digit scoring through three quarters as Oralls and Zan Stewart locked down on defense. At the front of the NHS defense, senior guard Matt Burke was tenacious with his ball pressure, and completely disrupted the flow of Owego’s offense, Collier said.
Oralls led Norwich with 11 points, Stewart and Storm Cook netted 10 apiece, and Burke along with Sutton split 18 points down the middle. It was perhaps the best offensive balance for Norwich this season with eight players scoring at least six points. Cook added 15 rebounds to expand on his growing list of double-doubles.