Best in STAC: Norwich claims first league title in 20 years

VESTAL – Best in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference.

Has a nice ring to it, right Norwich?

The Purple Tornado climbed another rung up the ladder extending its unbeaten record to 18-0 beating Union-Endicott, 85-67, in the STAC finals Friday at Binghamton University’s Events Center.

Norwich extended its lead to as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Tigers were relegated to quick shots on offense, and prolific fouling on defense to stop the clock. Michael Sutton finished with 23 points to head a fivesome of NHS players in double figures scoring, and Sutty was 7 of 9 from the free throw line over the final eight minutes. As a team, Norwich made 16 of 21 foul shots over the last minutes.

Norwich coach Tom Collier thought the Tigers went into extend-the-game mode a little earlier than he would have expected, and NHS cashed in on the charity. “I think they were frustrated in the fourth quarter, and it was just a great defensive effort on our part,” Collier said. “U-E is one of the best offensive teams we’ve seen all season, and has a lot of offensive talent. We had to rely much more on individual defensive performances than we had in our other games, and we had great individual performances.”

Eighteen games into the season, only two teams have finished within 15 points of Norwich on the final scoreboard, and none in Section IV since the Tornado’s opening-game win at Oneonta in early December. The comparisons are only natural to the last Norwich teams to win league championships while cutting a unbeaten swathe into sectional play.

That was two decades ago, and Sutton, who added nine helpers in the win, isn’t looking too far ahead. “We just have to keep this going,” Sutton said. “We have more championships to win.”

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