(*Published Jan. 17, 2016)
Norwich 60, Utica Notre Dame 59 (OT)
UTICA – Norwich’s only loss this season came to a Section III team. The Purple Tornado avoided a second loss to their neighbors to the north with clutch execution.
After surrendering the go-ahead basket to Utica’s Jerome Brabham with 12.1 seconds remaining in overtime, NHS found senior Jamison Luke for an inside basket with 4.1 seconds left to secure the 43rd Annual Juggler Classic championship.
The win moved Norwich’s record to 10-1 on the season, the victory will be one to savor considering the roll of past champions at the Utica-based tourney.
“If you look at the history of this tournament, there have been some fantastic teams and fantastic players,” said Norwich coach Brian Collier. “This is a very prestigious tournament to win. To beat the home team in their own gym with some circumstances that didn’t go our way, was even better.”
The winning play came as a result of some good fortune. Norwich set up a halfcourt play that was executed nearly perfectly. Jordan Vinal took the ball off a high ball screen and dumped a pass down low to Chris Jeffrey. Jeffrey deflected the ball directly to Luke under the basket for the winner.
Still, Norwich had to survive two offensive sets by UND. The first play resulted in a UND player throwing the ball off a Norwich player under the basket to retain possession.
On the next sequence, UND set up an alley-oop pass to Brabham, but the inbounds pass deflected off the side of the backboard out of bounds.
Norwich was fouled with 0.5 seconds left, but missed the ensuing free throw. UND grabbed the rebound and the length-of-the-floor baseball pass rimmed out at the horn.
“We executed and got big stops at the end when we needed them,” Collier said. “We kind of blew it at the end of regulation giving up a five-point lead. We could have packed it in at that point and said it wasn’t our night. We fought through and overcame.
Norwich’s biggest lead was that five-point margin, 54-49 after a Tre Bonham three with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. UND scored quickly on the next sequence, and after a Norwich miss, Brabham sent the game into overtime hitting a three in the corner.
In overtime, UND took the lead with two free throws, and held a one-point lead with the ball with under a minute to play.
Carlos Ithier came up with a critical steal, and he hit two free throws giving Norwich a 58-57 lead.
“It was a very difficult place to play, and they are an excellent team that is well coached,” Collier said. “We were fortunate to overcome adversity and come out with the victory.”
Luke and Vinal led Norwich with 13 points apiece, and Ithier added 11. Luke was selected as the most valuable player, while Ithier was named to the all-tournament team.
Norwich: Jake Walsh, 2 1-2-6; Tre Bonham, 2 1-2-6; Cameron Edwards, 2 0-0-4; Carlos Ithier, 4 2-3-11; Dashawn King, 0; Jordan Vinal, 5 0-0-13; Jamison Luke, 6 1-5-13; Chris Jeffrey, 3 1-2-7. Totals: 24 6-14-60.
UND: Jaylen Warmack, 5 5-8-16; Jerome Brabham, 7 5-8-20; Triejen Garrett, 2 1-2-6; Dante Griffin, 0; Patrick Fitzgerald, 0; Todd Manolescu, 7 2-2-17 Riley Davis, 0. Totals: 21 13-20-59
NHS 18 9 17 10 6–60
UND 15 10 18 11 5–59
Three-point goals: (N) Vinal 3, Ithier, Walsh, Bonham. (U) Manolescu, Brabham, Warmack, Garrett.
Norwich 67, Ogdensburg 55
UTICA – Norwich sped Ogdensburg up, then slowed it down to pull away in the fourth quarter in Saturday’s opening-round victory over the 43rd Annual Juggler Classic at Utica Notre Dame High School.
For three quarters, Norwich kept the tempo high with full-court pressure. Once the Blue Devils were sufficiently worn down, Norwich pounded the ball inside to Jamison Luke and Chris Jeffrey.
Luke scored a career-high 23 points, and grabbed 16 boards to lead the Purple Tornado. Jeffrey, also and inside post player, had six in the second half.
“We made it a halfcourt game in the fourth quarter, which was to our advantage,” said Norwich coach Brian Collier. “It was the first time all season we had our two bigs (Chris and Jamison) on the floor at the same time. We felt had the advantage inside, and we hurt them in the fourth quarter.”
So much attention was paid toward Luke in the fourth quarter, the big center was able to pass out of the double team to wide-open teammates. Carlos Ithier and Dashawn King were the beneficiaries of Luke’s kickout passes hitting clutch three-pointers during a 22-12 fourth quarter.
Ogdensburg stayed in the game through three quarters with its quick guard play. “Their guards were very quick, and they gave us some problems,” Collier said.
Eventually, Norwich figured out the right adjustment against a Blue Devils team that took highly regarded Johnson City to overtime earlier this season.
“(Ogdensburg) is a very good team, and their record is deceptive,” Collier said.
Ithier added 12 in the win, King had nine off the bench, and Jake Walsh canned a couple of three balls en route to an eight-point outing.
Norwich plays in the championship game Sunday night at 7:30 p.m.
Ogdensburg: Connor Badlam, 2 2-3-7; Josh Farrar, 3 0-2-7; Matt Rector, 0; Peyton Lalone, 6 4-4-17; Joey Dalton, 2 2-4-6; Will Kroeger, 0; Anthoni Pope, 2 0-0-4; Cale Sargent, 5 2-2-14. Totals: 20 10-15-55
Norwich: Jake Walsh, 3 0-2-8; Ky’sawn Veale, 0; Tre Bonham, 1 0-0-2; Cameron Edwards, 0-1-2; Carlos Ithier, 4 2-2-12; Dashawn King, 4 0-0-9; J. Vinal, 1 4-4-6; Jamison Luke, 10 3-6-23; Chris Jeffrey, 3 0-0-6. Totals: 26 10-16-67.
NHS 21 11 13 22–67
Ogd. 16 15 12 12–55
Three-point goals: (N) Ithier 2, King, Walsh 2.(O) Badlam, Farrar, Lalone, Sargent 2.