By Robert Jeffrey
Sun Sports Contributor
Frank Speziale Photo
NORWICH- For many high school hoops fans across the Southern Tier, this game has been circled on their calendars multiple times- and finally after three different postponements due to inclement weather, Mother Nature decided that instead of playing in January, she’ll wait until February. Now fans understand why she waited as the Tornado prevailed in a barn-burner against fellow Section IV foe Seton Catholic Central. And for some fans who may have already had a predetermined outcome, they left before pre-game warm-ups began.
Appropriately enough on senior night, the game was unlike any other that the Tornado have played thus far. Instead of tip-off, it was a miniature free-throw contest as both the Saints Leo Gallagher and the Tornado’s Tre Bonham both went to the line to shoot two freebies-this uncharacteristic start was due to two indirect technical fouls called on the both the Tornado and Saints benches due to players dunking/pulling on the rim during pregame warm-ups. Both teams went unblemished from the line and the game began tied at 2-2.
Bonham’s hot hand went beyond the free-throw line, opening the game with a trifecta followed by another pair of free-throws-awakening a still confused home crowd. Recording half of the Tornado’s scoring total in the first quarter with nine points, Bonham needed help offensively and Norwich needed a spark. Look no further than Tornado center Chris Jeffrey who delivered some momentum with a vicious two-handed Tomahawk slam dunk that drove those inside Jack Jones gymnasium into a frenzy. Seton, forced to now deal with a hostile crowd took a timeout. However, the boost that Jeffrey’s dunk provided seemed to vanish as the Tornado offense slowed due to multiple traveling violations-leaving the door open for the Saints to move within striking range. By the time the first period ended, the Saints waited for Norwich’s next move as the Tornado led 18-12.