Norwich ‘defends’ title

BINGHAMTON – It was a far cry from Norwich’s best game on offense, but when you give up just 28 points, you have to like your chances of winning.

“Yeah, we didn’t have the greatest game on offense, but defense wins championships, and you saw that tonight,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier.

The Purple Tornado won their third straight Section IV title Saturday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, and fourth in six years topping Oneonta for the third time this season, 40-28.

Norwich held Oneonta to 26 percent shooting (11-for-42), and blunted the emotion of a club that was missing its longtime head coach, Jerry Mackey, and leading scorer, Jordan Gutierrez. Mackey was diagnosed last week with multiple sclerosis, and he was not on the Oneonta bench the past two games.

“I can’t say enough about how inspired Oneonta played against us,” Collier said. “Look at the final score. That’s the closest anyone has been to us. We’ll celebrate this win, but our thoughts and prayers are with Jerry. He’s a good friend of mine, and as good a coach as he is, he’s an even better person who would help us in a heartbeat.”

As has been Norwich’s M.O. since game one, it dominated the offensive and defensive boards. While Norwich struggled through 16-for-54 shooting (30 percent), it often extended possessions with offensive boards. Senior Storm Cook had 14 rebounds to go with his nine points and four blocked shots, and was a key component in Norwich establishing a six-point halftime lead. Cook had a surprising revelation when addressing his ability to snag offensive rebounds

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