The end of the year basketball award banquet held at Canasawacta Country Club on March 25, 2014 was a pleasant experience. Locating the country club wasn’t as difficult as expected and I was pleasantly surprised by the décor and atmosphere of the ball room. Walking in, I was greeted by a hostess and removed my jacket then I strolled into the event and sat next to photographer Frank Speziale. Frank and I looked on as the sophomores, juniors and seniors were honored in a specific and constructive manner.
Assistant coach Brian Collier shared some words about the players he’s tutored in the game of basketball. “When you have your best player as the hardest worker it’s very easy to be a coach,” said Brian Collier.
A team, in Norwich, that was ranked third in New York State and has been consistently successful since this years’ senior class stepped into their varsity uniforms. The year 2014 saw them raise a third consecutive Sectional Championship banner into the rafters, capping off a 53-12 overall record in as many years.
There was a relaxed feel to the occasion, everyone sat happily and enjoyed the words shared by the coaching staff and players. Sharing the simple factual statistics of the Tornado’s past three seasons can seem gratuitous, because they are just so good. “They haven’t lost to a Class B school in Section IV in 31 games,” said Brian Collier. This
team respects the concept of home court advantage and it shows. “They haven’t lost at home since sophomore year, in January,” said Brian Collier.
“He's one of the most heralded players to ever play Norwich Basketball,” said Collier of MVP award winner Michael Sutton. Collier believes that Sutton is one of the top ten players in New York State. The two time All-State selection “was probably the face of our program over the last three years,” said Collier.
While Michael Sutton was the undeniable and deserved MVP, Storm Cook was the only Tornado to take home two awards. Cook won Best Defensive Player and Best Teammate and assistant coach Brian Collier called him the “best big in Section IV.” It is a pretty solid argument. Cook averaged ten points, nine rebounds and two blocks a game this season
and was a presence in the paint. “You can’t count all the shots where he just scared people away,” said Collier.
Cook was the only player to garner a vote in every category. Assistant coach Collier told the patrons tales of Cook from his first days in practice to his overcoming obstacles toward improvement and becoming the player he is today.