Norwich 57, Chenango Valley 35
NORWICH – How much has Norwich progressed this season? The answer is a simple comparison between its opening STAC league game and this past Friday night’s offering.
The Purple Tornado scored the game’s first 10 points, led 20-4 after one period, and was never challenged in a blowout victory over the Warriors. Seven weeks earlier, Norwich opened its league schedule against this same CV club, and escaped with an eight-point win.
It was a night-and-day performance for NHS, now 13-2 on the season and unbeaten against Class B competition for three-plus seasons.
Michael Oralls had his second straight 20-point performance for Norwich finishing with a team-high 21 points, and he authored what may have been the first alley-oop three-pointer. Jamison Luke scored 10 points and had seven boards, and Zan Stewart dished out six assists to go with seven rebounds.
“We made a lot of mistakes down there earlier this season, and still came away with the win,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier. “We played a lot better tonight. Of course playing at home helps, and it energizes our guys.”
Similar to the first quarter, Norwich started the second half on an 11-0 run, the highlight coming from Oralls and his improbable three. On its third possession of the half, Norwich had the ball knocked out of bounds under its basket with one second left on the shot clock. The ball was thrown in to Oralls, who was well outside the three-point arc. In one motion, Oralls caught the ball in the air, and launched a line drive shot that found the bottom of the net.
Oralls ran back on defense, a smile of surprise filling up his face. “I’ve been coaching Michael since he was in seventh grade,” Collier said. “Those are the shots he makes; he makes the impossible happen.”
Oralls scored 10 in the third quarter, and didn’t play another minute. In truth, Norwich had the reserves in the game nearly the entire fourth quarter, a far cry from earlier this season when Norwich was pushed for all 32 minutes by the Warriors.
"Chenango Valley is a very good shooting team that is averaging over 60 points a game," Collier said. "Our halfcourt defense was really good. We held them to 29 percent shooting and only 35 points."
Carlos Ithier had five assists for Norwich, who had 18 team assists on 23 baskets. However, for the second straight game, Norwich struggled in the second quarter and had more turnovers than it would have liked. "We're not taking care of the ball as well as we need to, but I think a lot of that has to do with several of our kids being sick, and they're tired," Collier said.
Norwich’s junior varsity improved its mark to 11-3 overall beating the Warriors, 55-43. Dashawn King scored 26 points for Norwich, and Mike Carson added eight.