NORWICH – One thing is certain: A two-decade drought between STAC basketball championships will end tonight at the Binghamton Events Center.
Unbeaten Norwich (17-0) squares off with Union-Endicott (14-3) at 7:45 p.m., its second straight league final and third in six season.
With a victory, the Purple Tornado would end a 20-year span between league titles, while U-E is seeking its first STAC crown in a quarter century. “We’re looking at this as a win-win for us, no matter what happens,” said Norwich head coach Tom Collier. “We get to play in the Events Center for the league championship, and we get to play two high-caliber teams. It’s the perfect preparation for sectionals.”
Norwich fans will surely recognize the man guiding the opposing club. U-E is led by 2000 NHS graduate Joey Alger, whom Collier knows quite well. Nearly 20 years ago, Collier served as Alger’s Norwich Little League coach. “You can definitely say the STAC championship has a Norwich flavor,” Collier said.
It’s Norwich’s second meeting with U-E in as many years. The Tigers edged Norwich last year by three in the Stop DWI tournament ; however, Norwich was missing its two leading scorers in that game, Mike Sutton and Kyle Edwards.
A lot has changed in 14 months, and U-E has become the league’s top scoring team. C.J. Krowiak, a slick lefty guard, scores at a 25-point-a-game clip, teammate Osama Barwari pumped in 24 points in a STAC semifinals victory over Susquehanna Valley, while Joey Orlando and Matt Eastman are strong complements. Eastman has a team-high 44 threes this season, many of those treys coming off dribble penetration and subsequent kickout passes.