The good, the bad, and the ugly

Patrick Newell

It was a feel-good ending for the Norwich girls’ basketball team on Saturday afternoon against Owego. Struggling through a four-game losing streak, Norwich was able to bring home a win on a day its four seniors – Gabby Testani, Elisha Eddy, Sarah Bonnell, and Tatyana Ithier – were honored.
Owego had just beaten Norwich by six points earlier in the week, and clung to a tight lead through most of the second half. The “bad” for Norwich came in the form of nine turnovers in the fourth quarter alone. The Tornado’s defense held Owego in check most of the quarter, but the offense turned the ball over seemingly about every other possession.
Late in the game, Norwich trailed 30-29, but had an opportunity to tie or take the lead when Eddy stepped to the foul line. Eddy, for those not following Norwich sports, was playing her first game of the season. She had struggled with an illness for several months, and this reporter did not expect her to return at all. A standout performer a season ago, Eddy was in position for a movie-of-the-week finish. She subsequently missed the front end of the one-and-one foul shot. Owego grabbed the rebound and moved the ball down the floor, but turned the ball back over to Norwich.
Note: Turnovers were not the exclusive rights of Norwich in the fourth quarter.
Eddy received the ball in the low post, and was fouled again. This time, Eddy smoothly guided the ball between the rim and through the net – two times – for the one-point lead. After an Owego miss, NHS’s Bryn Loomis tacked on two free throws for good measure with four seconds left, and Owego failed to get off a quality shot as time expired.
As Norwich fans celebrated, in swept the “ugly.” With Norwich players huddled around head coach Josh Bennett, the game ball was thrown with alarming pace past the Norwich bench toward the north end of the court. The ball narrowly missed the exiting officials, and apparently, the officials were the target of this fast-moving basketball tossed with bad intentions.
As shocking as it was to see the officials’ faces after this near-miss, it was an even more stunning revelation that the delivery of the ball came from the throwing arm of Owego’s coaching staff, believed to be head coach Scott Snyder from eye-witness accounts. Yes, Mr. Snyder, his players, and Owego’s fans were frustrated with the game’s outcome, and clearly did not agree with a few of the referees’ calls – especially late in the game. Still, this was a classless display of poor sportsmanship, and nearly criminal behavior. Fortunately, the ball did not hit anyone, but what if it did? An errant toss may have struck a young child (plenty were in attendance), an elderly man or woman (many were present) or possibly a player or coach from the Norwich team.
At the least, the Owego coach should be suspended from coaching any more games this season pending a review by officials of the Southern Tier Athletic Conference.