Basketball: Late Game Heroics Push Purple Tornado Past CV
Published: December 6th, 2021
By: Robert Jeffrey

BINGHAMTON – Norwich became the ‘last-minute men’ on Friday, December 3, as timely plays in the fourth quarter, ultimately highlighted by a clutch steals and free-throws by Norwich junior Jerell Stokes vaulted the Purple Tornado boys varsity basketball team to a season opening win over the Chenango Valley Warriors by a final score of 60-58.

Fast forwarding to the fourth-quarter, the Tornado found themselves in an eight point deficit with 3:35 left to play. Norwich stayed true to their consistently hard-nose style of play and finally found the Warrior’s breaking point as the stifling Tornado defensive pressure turned up a notch late in the fourth quarter.

Norwich senior Keegan Franklin pitched in seven of his game high 26 points in the fourth quarter, and fellow NHS classmate Torin Lawrence who led Norwich in rebounds with 10- grabbed several crucial rebounds and gave Norwich key extra possessions by picking up the occasional loose basketball in the fourth.

“Keegan, made some massive shots for us at the end of the game, and Torin got a bunch of rebounds and loose balls” said Norwich Head Coach Tom Collier.

Tornado varsity newcomer freshman Steven Dowdall pitched in all four of his points in the fourth to help the Norwich effort in closing the gap.

Collier’s squad managed to knot the game at 58 with 8.3 seconds to go. The following 8.3 seconds would be the Tornado’s most important stretch of the game.

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Jerell Stokes secured a steal off of a Chenango Valley miscue, driving the length of the court before getting fouled. Stokes hit one of two free-throws to put NHS ahead 59-58 with 3 seconds left.

“He (Stokes) really came on, especially in the final 3 or 4 minutes when we were pressing. He got a massive steal with 8.3 seconds to go in a tied game.” said Norwich Head Coach Tom Collier of the pivotal play, “Stokes tipped the ball, went the length of the court and with a tied game he hit 1 of 2 (free throws) to put us ahead.”

But Stokes wasn’t done just yet. After another CV Warrior mistake, Stokes was sent to the charity stripe with .8 seconds to play and promptly sunk one of two to give Norwich the 60-58 victory.

“We had all hands on deck, it was a team effort…we’ve got to grow and we’ve got to get better,” added Collier.

Norwich’s next test will be against reigning Section IV Class B champion Seton Catholic Saints on Tuesday December 7th with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 at Norwich High School’s Jack Jones gymnasium.

Score by Quarters

N: 15 9 19 17 - 60

CV: 14 16 20 8 - 58

Norwich (1-0): Torin Lawrence 12, Jerell Stokes 8, Colin Olds 2, Steven Dowdall 4, Keegan Franklin 26, Wyatt Thornton 5, Logan Ford 3. 22-53 FG, 13-16 FT – 60

Chenango Valley (1-1): Riley Spencer 25, Donovan Tomm 9, Nathan Edwards 10, Chase Hanyon 6, Alex Jacobs 4, Finn King 4. 18-49 FG, 16-19 FT – 58

3-point goals: N 3 (Lawrence 2, Thornton); CV 6 (Spencer 3, Edwards 2, Tomm)

Team Fouls: N 18, CV 16