Norwich Girls Basketball Keeps Proving That They're The Real DealPosted: Updated:
Norwich, N.Y. - Before Saturday evening, it had been well over a decade since Norwich girl's basketball program have been on the winning side of a Section IV title. For the first time since 2006, the Purple Tornadoes were crowned Section IV Class B champions with a 66-42 win over the Owego Indians.
A few weeks before, Norwich grabbed a STAC title for the first time since 2001. Are they proving a really good case here? They clearly have what it takes to make a run in states.
However, walking on the court on Saturday, both teams felt like they needed to prove something. Norwich is ranked fourth in the state and Owego was right behind at fifth. A STAC championship rematch? For Owego, it was certainly a rematch after getting blown-out 74-39 and being dealt their first loss of the season.
For Norwich, they felt that they needed to prove something. The last time the two met in the STAC championship, Owego was missing key players, such as, Genevieve Coleman. Norwich wanted to prove that it didn't matter who was or wasn't on the court.
"They feel very justified" said Norwich head coach Josh Bennett." When all you hear about is the fact that the last time we beat Owego they didn't have a bunch of kids.You pick up a newspaper, pick up a remote, my kids kept hearing that over and over that they didn't have all their kids. So, they walked in here thinking. Okay, we'll show you."
Norwich certainly showed them, although it took some time, but when they found their rhythm, the rest was history. Norwich trailed Owego heading into the second quarter, but once the second quarter came around, the tornado started to brew. Seven Norwich players contributed to a 28-point second quarter, stimulating diversity on both sides of the ball.
Their poised and diverse offense certainly fits well with their gritty and gutsy defense.
"We're gonna run all day and you're going to get tired. That's our mentality. It's not really a secret or something we can hide at this point" said Bennett. "Our whole entire game plan is we're going to go out and run all day and you're going to get tired before we do."
Ten out of the twelve players put points on the board for Norwich on Saturday. Sharing the ball comes easy for a team that have been playing together for so long.
"We've worked so hard to get here" said Saige Benedict."It's been since the sixth grade that we've been together."
Saturday's win marks only the third time the program has ever won a Section IV championship.
"I'm very happy. Very proud of my kids obviously. They put a lot of time and effort into this. Very proud of that. Very proud of them"
Let me leave you with a food for thought. Three of the last four Class B girls state champions have been Section IV teams. Can Norwich be the next? Only time will tell.
Next Up: Saturday, March 9 vs South Jefferson at Onondaga CC at 7:15 p.m.