When in doubt, bring a camera.
Knowing I would have a few photos from the state wrestling tournament to place in Monday’s sports section, I mulled the decision to take my camera to the Unadilla Valley-Harpursville girls’ basketball playoff game Friday at UV High School. The offenses sputtered in the first half – a 19-19 tie – something that was a surprising development since each club regularly eclipsed the 60- and even 70-point mark throughout the regular season. Through three quarters, it was still a one-possession game with neither team taking control. I rated it a good game that was amplified by a rowdy, near-capacity crowd. A good game became great in the final four minutes with big shots, clutch free throws, and a dramatic conclusion. I tried to capture some of the action with my cell phone camera, but to no avail. Why didn’t I bring the same professional camera I have used throughout the winter sports season? The emotion of the closing moments was priceless, but I was without the proper tool to immortalize those moments by way of a photograph. At least there is a detailed recap of the game in Monday’s edition, one that unfortunately ended the Storm’s best regular season in my stay at The Evening Sun.
Disappointment pervaded our local wrestling community this weekend. I was sure at least one of our three state finalists – Norwich’s Tristan Rifanburg and Frank Garcia along with Greene’s Christian Dietrich – would end their seasons with a state title. All three matches were nail-biting close with the combined deficit of those three losses just four points. Rifanburg gave up a last-second takedown to lose by one; Garcia was seconds away from a tying reversal to send his match into overtime, and Dietrich gave up a takedown in the third – a counter off of his own aggression – to lose by a single point. The only good news coming out of the weekend is that all three will back to try again – Rifanburg and Garcia are sophomores, while Dietrich is just a freshman. “It hurts to come that far and fall short by just a few seconds,” said Norwich coach Joe Downey, summing up the feelings of his wrestlers.
For hoops followers, just one local team remains: Norwich. The Tornado boys advanced to their second straight Section IV Class B final, and seek a sixth sectional championship when they face Whitney Point Saturday at the Broome County Arena. At 16-4, Norwich has won 11 of 12 games, and of its four losses, none have come to a Class B school. We’ll have a preview of that title game later this week.
Indoor track and field doesn’t get a ton of ink in our paper, in part because most of the meets have occurred 60-plus miles away at Cornell University. The same local athletes who have excelled in the outdoors track and field season are matching those performances on the shorter indoor tracks. If you haven’t had the opportunity, you need to take a look at Norwich junior Matt Murray. He holds so many school records, it’s hard to keep track (sorry, it was hard to resist). Unbeaten against Section IV competition this year in just about every individual event he has entered, he won the 600 meters at this past weekend’s state qualifier by a whopping four seconds. If this was the 1,600 meters or 3,200 meters, four seconds might not seem so impressive, but in the shortest middle distance race – or an extended sprint race – four seconds might as well be 10. Murray is a state title contender, so keep an eye out for the state meet coming slated for Saturday, March 2 at Cornell University’s Barton Hall.
Section IV inducts its newest class of athletes into its athletics hall of fame on championship Saturday at the Broome County Arena. Norwich’s Josh and Jason Morris, Tom Stoddard, Barry Benjamin, and Nick Brunick, along with Greene’s Sue Carlin and Brad Henneman will be honored. Ceremonies will begin after the completion of the 1 p.m. basketball game.
Follow Patrick Newell on Twitter @evesunpat