NORWICH — In less than 24 hours, Norwich went from rusty and ragged on offense to poised and polished. All the while, the in-your-face man-to-man defense stifled the opposition.
The Purple Tornado upended Oneida late Saturday afternoon, 68-52, and combined with a 45-40 victory on Friday over Oxford, claimed its first Tom Schwan Memorial/Mang Insurance Agency tournament title since the 2003 season.
Oxford and Oneida play Tuesday for second place in the round robin format. “No disrespect to Oxford and Oneida, but as a Norwich person, there would have been nothing worse for us than coming back on Tuesday and watching Oxford and Oneida play for the tournament title,” said Norwich head coach Mark Abbott.
Robert Martin made his first four three-point attempts in the first quarter and Nate Foote swished his three ball attempt, and Norwich raced to a 24-13 lead over the Indians.
The Tornado lead never dipped lower than nine points the rest of the way, and reached as many as 17 in the second quarter after a Chris Mattingly hoop. Nine Norwich players found the bottom of the net compared to just four in a nail-biter over the Blackhawks, and Martin finished with a career-high 21 points and Foote added 14. “It looks a whole lot better when you’re making shots,” Abbott said. “We didn’t shoot a good percentage the night before (28 percent), but we really didn’t take that many bad shots. We knew Oneida liked to play more up-tempo, and thought that would be to our liking. We just seemed to get into a rhythm faster tonight.”