Chenango Valley 65, Norwich 62
NORWICH – Chenango Valley pulled off the stunner of the Section IV playoff season knocking off three-time defending Section IV champion Norwich before a raucous crowd at Jack Jones Gymnasium Saturday night.
Mark Mullins and Kolby Ross scored all 20 of CV’s points in the fourth quarter, and Mullins made 6 of 7 free throws down the stretch to hold off the hard-charging Tornado.
“Chenango Valley is one of the best teams in our league, and that was the best I’ve seen them play this season,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier, whose club finished this season with a 16-4 record. “You can say that we didn’t do this or that, but that really takes away from Chenango Valley’s effort. They came into a tough environment to play, and they beat the number one seed.”
Norwich was down throughout the second half, and after a pair of Mullins free throws, led 62-55 with 57 seconds to play. Instead of shooting threes, Norwich went to score-and-foul mode to extend the game, and closed the contest to 63-62 with 15 seconds remaining.
Norwich seniors Zan Stewart and Colin Stewart were a combined 7 of 8 from the foul line in the last quarter, and Michael Oralls scored six in the fourth including a key three ball.
Mullins gave his club a three-point lead with 13 seconds left making a pair of free throws setting up Norwich’s final possession. An NHS three-point attempt, however, to tie the game went off the back rim.
“Our game management the last minute and a half was outstanding,” Collier said. “To get a seven-point game down to one in the last minute...we never should’ve gotten it back to one point. That’s a credit to the kids for listening and executing, and a credit to the staff.”
Chenango Valley jumped out to a 19-11 lead in the first quarter as Norwich was forced to sit starters Oralls and Jamison Luke due to foul trouble.