Keep the focus on the players

Monday, Feb. 6 was a slow sports night. I was asked earlier in the day if I was driving over to Oneonta to watch Norwich’s girls play the Yellowjackets. Initially, I told that person no, but after reviewing my schedule, it was the “only game” on the docket. Why not make the 30-mile trip? Norwich was playing for a share of the STAC Central Division title, so this was the definition of a must-win game.

I arrived at the game shortly before halftime with Oneonta clinging to a 14-12 lead. I thought that perhaps the junior varsity game was running late. Surely this wasn’t the two-quarter score of two varsity teams that were recently ranked among the state’s top 20 Class B teams. It was, indeed, the halftime score.

After consuming my obligatory halftime treat, I nestled into my seat for the second half. The two clubs traded leads several times . Norwich senior Bryn Loomis hit back-to-back three-pointers, and Norwich led by as many as four points in the third quarter. Oneonta’s super sophomore, Mariah Ruff, brought her club back with an array of difficult finishes around the basket. Ruff was held scoreless in the first half – probably a first for the newly-minted 1,000-point career scorer – but had a half-dozen points in each of the final two quarters.

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