Norwich dials up intensity in second half

Boys’ Basketball

Norwich 71, Johnson City 42

NORWICH – Norwich’s defense tightened its grip in the second half, and the Tornado pulled away from a game Johnson City club with a dominant second half on senior recognition night.

The Tornado outcored the visitors 36-11 over the final 14 1/2 minutes of the game to post their 12th win of the season.

Patrick Coates scored a game-high 21 points for Norwich, and Justin “Doobie” Ballin had a career-high 16 points – his second straight double figures scoring contest.

“In the first half, with senior night, there were nerves, some added excitement and a lot of subbing,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “In the third quarter, I thought we really buckled down and played great basketball. The first time (we played them) we had a big jump on them early, and tonight it just took a little longer to make that gap for us.”

Johnson City made things interesting through most of the first half trimming the NHS lead to 28-27 on Troy Robinson’s three ball with 2:12 left in the half.

The Purple ended the quarter on an 8-0 spurt getting a layup from Ballin, two baskets from Coates, and a Craig Berg tip-in at the buzzer.

JC was as close as five points early in the second half after Daquan Jones and Jason Phillips canned back-to-back jumpers from the right baseline making it 36-31.

Coates started an 11-2 Norwich run hitting two free throws, Nate Foote had a steal and layup, and Foote later set up a Vaughn Labor layup ending the run. Foote had three straight assists on Norwich baskets late in the quarter, and Coates’ pull-up three-pointer with one second left in the quarter upped the NHS lead to 20 points.

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