Frank Speziale Photo
NORWICH – The Lady Purple Tornado haven’t had the easiest of paths to start their 2017-2018 season. In just the second game of the season, they faced the Sabers of Susquehanna Valley, runners-ups in last year’s sectional finals. Last week in their fourth game of the schedule, Norwich faced Westhill in the opening round of the More Than A Game Holiday Classic.
Westhill, currently ranked number four in the NY State Rankings, held Norwich to 9 points in the first half. Norwich shook off the first half and came out to play an evenly matched second half against the Lady Warriors but the 17 point deficit from the first half was too much for the Purple, sending them to face Hannibal in the consolation game.
In the contest against Westhill, Norwich received 13 points from Abby Flynn while Nicole Jeffrey chipped in with nine and Halea Eaton added eight.
The following day, the Lady Tornado took a three point lead into the break against the Hannibal Warriors. When they came out from the intermission, Norwich turned on the scoring. The Purple dropped a 15 point third quarter as they were able to distance themselves from the Lady Warriors. In fact, the defensive effort from Norwich held Hannibal to a 12 point half while Norwich added another 11 in the fourth on their way to a 52-35 win in the consolation game over the Section III opponent.
The Lady Tornado returned to action for their first game of the new year to face yet again another test in their tough schedule early in the season as they took on long-time rival Oneonta Tuesday night.
A few turnovers in the early minutes of the game by Norwich gave the visiting team a 4-0 lead. But it was only for those few minutes that Oneonta had the upper hand.
The Purple gathered themselves, beginning to control the tempo. Norwich started attacking the rim, getting strong finishes for layups and turning the tables for a 6-4 lead.
At 1:14 remaining in the first quarter of play, the two teams had a tie score at 8-8. That was until Norwich’s Halea Eaton knocked down a three from the left side corner, giving her team the lead what would ultimately be for the rest of the contest.
In the second quarter with a one point advantage, the Purple continued to attack the rim. That put pressure on the Yellowjackets, getting Oneonta’s stand-out Ally Baker into foul trouble and sending her to the bench with six minutes before the intermission.
But Oneonta wasn’t the only team facing foul trouble. Norwich’s head coach Josh Bennett was forced to sit his players as they picked up their second fouls some even their third before the break.
As the buzzer sounded for halftime, a shot from Triniti Myers just inside the three-point line feel giving Norwich the largest lead by either team.
The Lady Tornado came out of the intermission with some fire as they got after every loose ball and pulled down many offensive rebounds, giving them extra opportunities to score. This contributed to another 13 point quarter for the Purple, extending their lead to double-digits following a drive and score by Eaton.
In the fourth, the game was even more physical than the previous 24 minutes of play. However, neither team backed down.
Oneonta picked up some momentum in fourth, knocking down a total of four buckets from the field with two coming from beyond the arc. The Yellowjackets little by little, digging themselves out of the nine point hole they were in...