For the second straight year, Norwich dominates our first team boys’ basketball all-stars. A season ago the Tornado reached the Section IV Class B finals, and placed three players among our starting five. Facing the best possible competition of any area team, Norwich excelled and its players were duly recognized for their performances.
One season later, Norwich is continuing to thrive among the best six or seven teams in all of Section IV, and a 15-win season almost seems like a step back considering the Tornado won 38 games over the previous two seasons.
This season had to be especially satisfying for Norwich coach Mark Abbott, who now has spent a quarter century manning the sidelines. He had no returning starters from last year’s team, and the returning players were little more that situational substitutes.
Jumping to the forefront this season was Norwich senior Jon Foulds, who was the lone boy in Chenango County named to the Basketball Coaches Association of New York all-Section IV team. Foulds was among the area’s scoring leaders throughout the season, and was one missed three-pointer away from completing the best scoring night in Abbott’s coaching career.
Foulds is joined on the first team by teammates Dennis Oralls and Seth Thomsen, who are just juniors and give Abbott the backbone of next year’s team.
Completing our starting five are Oxford senior Booker Davis and Bainbridge-Guilford junior Ryan Porter, each all-stars in the Midstate Athletic Conference, and each was the scoring and rebounding leaders for their respective teams.
What is unique about this year’s group of all-stars is that every player – save Davis – is unique to our all-star squad. Nine of our 10 selections are first-timers Making the second five were Austin Bauerle, Bainbridge-Guilford; Randy Briggs, Sherburne-Earlville; Dusty Davis, Otselic Valley; Andrew Golden, Oxford; and Justin Hofer, Unadilla Valley.
Next season we should see plenty of familiar faces returning to our all-star team. Hofer, Golden, Briggs, Bauerle, Porter, Thomsen, and Oralls are all underclassmen.
Below are summaries of each all-star selection by first and second team. Players are listed alphabetically.
Booker Davis, Oxford, 6-foot, sr.
Davis was a model of consistency reaching double figures scoring a team-high 15 times, while leading the team in rebounding for the second straight season at 10.4 pull-downs per contest. Undersized in the post position, Davis augmented his game with a consistent spot-up 15-footer on the baseline. “He was a really solid player for us,” said Oxford coach Tim Davis. “He was always happy to be out there playing and gave 110 percent. He was a joy to coach.” Davis had a 16-point, 18-rebound night in a one-point win over Delhi, scored a career-high 24 points against Afton, and had at least 16 points in eight different games. “He loves to play and loves the competition and he always works hard,” Davis said of his senior. “He really has his head on straight about scholastic sports, and he gives everything he has.”
Jon Foulds, Norwich, 6-foot-3, sr.
Foulds was the leading scorer and rebounder on the 15-win Purple Tornado, and was selected to the BCANY all-Section IV team for his outstanding senior season. Foulds was the Greene Holiday Classic’s most valuable player scoring 63 points in two games including a career-high 35 against Delhi. “Jon proved to be one of the more versatile players around this year, and rightfully so,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “It was his effort on the defensive end of the floor that really impressed me.” Foulds also led Norwich with 31 three-pointers, 2.3 blocked shots per game, and was almost always hovering around double figures scoring and rebounding. “I don’t think Jon was on a lot of team’s radars at the beginning of the season, but that didn’t last long. Teams were game-planning for him, and you know you are a ‘player’ when that starts happening.”
Dennis Oralls, Norwich, 6-foot-3, jr.
Oralls set the stage for a breakout junior season scoring 41 points in the Tom Schwan/Wells Fargo Advisors Tournament, while also winning the Most Valuable Player award. “Dennis took a huge step forward this year,” said Norwich coach Mark Abbott. “As a sophomore, he was primarily a situational shooter for us. And now, as a junior, he is a guy that was on the floor a lot.” An excellent outside shooter and foul shooter, Oralls was a pivotal piece in Norwich’s dribble-drive offense that relied on dribble penetration by its guards and capable perimeter shooters. In addition to averaging 11.7 points per game, Oralls grabbed nearly six rebounds per contest, and hit 82 percent of his free throws, the second best single-season average in Abbott’s 25-season tenure.
Ryan Porter, Bainbridge-Guilford, 6-foot-4, jr.
Porter was arguably one of the best – if not the best – inside post player in the Midstate Athletic Conference this season. A third-year starter for the Bobcats, he led his team in scoring and rebounding, and shot over 50 percent from the field, best on his team. “He was unselfish, almost to a fault,” said B-G coach Ben Nelson. “He really wanted to keep everyone involved.” Porter averaged just under 14 points per game, and easily could have scored more if not for constant double teams. His presence inside keyed a win over Section IV Class D champion Hancock, and Porter gave evidence of his capabilities with a monster 26-point, 17-rebound effort against Greene. He scored in double figures 15 times, and had 20 or more points in four games...