NORWICH – Sometimes okay is good enough.
Norwich was okay at times on the offensive end, while its defense was plenty good enough in a 36-32 win over Greene Saturday for the Norwich/Sidney Pennysaver tourney championship. Last year the Trojans prevailed over the Tornado in a tight matchup. “We’re obviously thrilled to death to be the Pennysaver champions,” said Norwich coach Bob Branham, who thanked Mark Abbott and Krista Porter for assuming the head coaching duties Friday. “If nothing else, we have this one title under our belts.”
The Tornado grabbed a 9-7 lead after one period, and they maintained a grasp on the advantage, even when Greene was poised to take control.
Down to Norwich 22-18 at halftime, Greene had two possessions, – with Norwich leading 24-23 – to grab the lead. Minda Moore hit a free throw for the Tornado to extend the margin to two, and tourney MVP Alicia Testani canned her fourth three ball of the game to up the lead to five ending the threat. Adding to the margin were Kyra Collier, who connected on a post-up move after a pass from Krissie Collier, and Moore converted a three-point play on a fast break getting a pinpoint pass from Testani.
“Their big girls were able to hurt us a little bit during a part of the third quarter, and they just had a little more firepower than us tonight,” said Greene coach Bill Case. “We’re a young team, and we continue to get better and better.
Branham knew the post-up game was to his team’s advantage with Kyra Collier and Moore taller than their Greene defenders. “We got away a bit from the inside game in the first half, but fortunately we did enough in that little stretch of the third quarter to carry us through.”
Testani finished with 15 points to lead Norwich (2-1), while Elizabeth Wentlent scored 10 points for Greene (2-2).
Oxford (2-2) secured a third-place finish in the consolation game edging Sidney, 48-45.
The Blackhawks, who failed to reach 40 points in their first three games had balanced scoring through its lineup receiving a season-high 11 points from Amanda Nightengale and 10 more from Felicia Tynan.
Friday, Norwich forced Sidney into numerous turnovers to open and 11-point halftime lead, and raised the margin to 20 after three periods to advance past the Warriors, 59-39.
Testani led Norwich with 16 points including a pair of three-pointers, and Kyra Collier controlled the inside finishing with a career-high 15 markers. “We did a great job of creating tempo,” said NHS substitute coach Mark Abbott, who was filling in for Branham. “The press was effective and we got some good looks out of it.”
It was like night and day for the Trojans, who shrugged off an unproductive offensive output in the first half to move past the Blackhawks, 38-32 to reach the final.
Megan McDermott scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half to help erase Oxford’s 18-9 halftime advantage. Defensively, the Trojans did not allow a point in the third quarter outscoring Oxford, 14-0. It was one quarter removed from a 9-2 Oxford second quarter in which the Trojans did not connect on a field goal.
“We changed the offense in the second half, and I was proud of the adjustment the girls made,” Case said. “We ran this offense last year, but we haven’t practiced it this year and we have some new kids on varsity. Our defense was great the whole game, and that was the real constant.”
Norwich 36, Greene 32
Greene: Barb Borst, 2 0-2-5; Holly Davis, 0; Candice Browning, ; Erin Smith, 0; Monica Puglisi, 0; Megan McDermott, 1 3-5-5; Lizzy Buhl, 2 2-2-6; Liz Wentlent, 1 7-7-10; Jessica Smith, 2 2-2-6. Totals: 8 14-18-32.
NHS: Brittany Cargill, 0 1-2-1; Alicia Testani, 5 1-3-15; Krissie Collier, 1 0-2-2; Emily Tackabury, 0; Melinda Moore, 3 3-8-9; Kyra Collier, 2 1-2-5; Chelsea Leibundgut, 0; Brooke Abbott, 0; Kala Haltner, 2 0-2-4. Totals: 13 6-19-36.
Score by quarters
Gre. 7 11 7 7–32
NHS 9 13 11 3–36
Fouled out: none. Three-point goals: (N) Testani 4. JV: Norwich won title, 39-16 over Sidney.Officials: Cicciarelli, Springer.
Oxford 48, Sidney 45..