Norwich hopes brutal early schedule pays dividends

The last time we saw Chenango County's most successful basketball team, it was walking off the floor, three-point overtime losers in the state quarterfinals to Westhill.

It may well have been a final-eight game, but to the eye – and Westhill's subsequent results – the Norwich-Westhill game was played at a state championship-game level.

"We would have liked to have won that game, and based on what Westhill did after that, we think we would have been pretty successful (if we had won)," said Norwich fourth-year head coach Tom Collier.

Westhill beat Norwich for the second straight year, and blew teams off the court winning the Class B and Federation titles in a spotless 27-0 season.

"The kids coming back from last year’s team, they're all focused getting back to playing Westhill," Collier said. "Westhill has pretty much everyone back, so you have to assume they will be back."

As for Norwich's return, Collier was quick to point out that his team has a long road to travel, and it must find away to replace the nearly irreplaceable in first team all-state guard Michael Sutton, and veteran senior starters Storm Cook and Matt Burke.

Cook was one of the section's best center's by season's end and Burke was a fireplug of a hustler. But Sutton, now a walk-on freshman guard on Syracuse University's men's team, provided the type of presence that "made everyone around him better," Collier said.

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