Norwich 66, Oneonta 50
NORWICH – Playing its first STAC league game in 15 days and just its second home game of the season, Norwich warmed to the task in the second half to knock off longtime rival Oneonta Wednesday night.
Zan Stewart produced his best statistical performance of the season scoring 23 points to go with 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Colin Stewart scored 13 and Michael Oralls netted 11.
The Purple Tornado offense heated up in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the third. Colin Stewart scored on a layup after a jump pass from his cousin Zan Stewart, Carlos Ithier buried a three in the corner after another helper from Zan Stewart, Zan Stewart knocked down his own three ball at the top of the key, and Oralls canned a baby hook shot with three seconds left in the stanza making it 54-40.
“Our starters played well tonight, we established ourselves in the third quarter, and were able to finish it off,” said Norwich head coach Tom Collier.
Oneonta did not go away easily led by Albert Odero and George Foti. Odero went for 22 points and 12 boards, and had two thunderous two-handed dunks. Foti pumped in four three-pointers including a clutch trey late in the second quarter as the Jackets trimmed an 11-point Norwich lead to 30-26 at the break.
“I was very happy with our third quarter and our second half, but I felt we didn’t execute well defensively in the first half,” Collier said. “Give credit to Oneonta. We left Foti alone twice, and you can’t do that; he’s a good shooter.”
Oralls came to life in the third quarter scoring seven of his 11 points, Jordan Vinal came off the bench for eight rebounds, and the two Stewarts played well off of each other throughout the night. Each Stewart also shared the defensive load against the explosive Odero.
“Zan was really good tonight, and what was most impressive was the intensity he brought to the court,” Collier said. “We need him to do that every night.”
The victory improved Norwich’s mark to 6-2 (3-0 in division play). The Tornado travel to Johnson City on Tuesday.
In the junior varsity game, Norwich dominated the overtime period topping the ‘Jackets, 68-59. Dashawn King scored eight points in the extra period finishing with 30 to top Norwich. Pop Veale scored 12, and Zach Race had 11.