Norwich one step closer to tournament crown

by Kieran Coffey

Sun Sports Contributor

ONONDAGA- The Norwich Tornado girl’s varsity basketball team bagged their first victory in their quest for the More Than A Game Foundation tournament title at Onondaga Community College yesterday, Dec. 28. The Purple Tornado knocked off last year’s AA losing state finalists Rush-Henrietta 41-30.

Norwich held the lead from the get go. It was a tight game in the first half, with the teams battling back and forth. The purple tornado finished the first quarter up by three.

Some more tense moments ensued for Norwich in the second quarter. Number 13, Makenzie Maynard, came up with some big plays, scoring six of the eight points for the Tornado in the quarter. It remained extremely close until the end of the half, with Norwich edging the lead by four points.

In the second half, Norwich number 21 Megan Komendarek, the Tornado leading scorer, stole the show, netting 10 of her 16 points, with six in the fourth quarter.

Norwich entered the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead, but some poor offensive play and lack of execution on shots led to Rush-Henrietta being able to cut into the deficit. “We got a little sloppy in the fourth and turned the ball over a couple of times. At one point the lead was down to six but we responded really well down the stretch,” said Norwich head coach Josh Bennett. The Tornado fought back and managed to win the game on a final score line of 41-30.

The star of the night for Rush-Henrietta was number 20, Jasmine Watts, who finished with 12 points.

Bennett praised his team’s defensive performance following the victory, “We defended really well so that’s how we got the win. To hold any good team like that under 30 points is impressive.”

Next up for Norwich, on Tuesday at 1 p.m., is a resilient Fayetteville-Manlius team. “They have a very nice point guard. She’s a big kid that rebounds really well and is extremely athletic. She has been scoring a lot of points for them all year,” said Bennett. “We have to make sure we are a little more clear about taking the opportunities we are given offensively.”

Rush-Henrietta: Marshall, 0; Johnson, 0 2-5-2; Locke, 0; Schwartz, 0; Katie Kelly, 3 0-3-6; Enright, 0; Cornell, 0; Jasmine Watts, 5 2-4-12; Alaya Wright, 1 0-0-3; Steph Hyde, 3 1-2-7; McPherson, 0; Gapes, 0; Brown, 0.

Totals: 12 5-14-30

Norwich: T. Hansen, 1 3-4-6; Dowdall, 0 2-6-2; Evans, 0; Seary, 0; Maynard, 5 1-2-11; M. Komendarek, 8 0-2-16; Murphy, 0; Benjamin, 2 2-4-6.

Totals: 16 6-18-41

NHS 9 8 12 12-41

R-H 6 7 6 11-30

Three-point goals: (N) Hansen, (RH) Wright.

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