In each of Josh Bennett’s first five seasons as head coach of the varsity girls’ basketball team, he had at least one go-to player to turn to when he needed a big play. First it was Hannah Runyon, then Bryn Loomis, and in the previous two seasons, Jenni Borfitz or Breanna Cashman fit the bill.
One or two predominant players were enough to send Norwich to three section finals appearances in five seasons. In 2014-2015, the Purple Tornado advanced to their fourth sectional championship game, and are doing it with not one clutch player, but five, six or even seven players.
Going into every game, Bennett has no idea which one of his players will lead the way. “It goes without saying that this is by far the most balanced team I have ever coached,” the NHS mentor said. “There was an adjustment at the beginning of the year because we always had that one kid that we turned to or ran a set for when we needed a play. This season, it’s more or less who is hot, who is playing well, and who is playing well on that particular night.”
An accounting of Norwich’s statistics revealed that four of the five starters have led the team in scoring at least once, and the first two players off of the bench have also topped Norwich’s scoring charts.
One recent example of Norwich’s depth of scoring came in the Feb. 20 playoff victory over Whitney Point. Starting center Meghan Komendarek, one of the club’s leading scorers and rebounders, was forced to sit out the game due to injury. Stepping into the starting lineup was Kassidy Seary, was who averaging less than three points a game. All Seary did was score a game-high 14 points and pull down 15 rebounds in a three-point win.