Sports Editor’s Playbook, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010

Patrick Newell

– My forthcoming opinion may create a few frown or two among the Norwich faithful, particularly those I work with regularly at the high school on a professional basis.
Friday night kicked off the 30th Annual Norwich Pennysaver girls’ basketball tournament. It’s sponsored by The Evening Sun’s sister company, and it’s a well-run tourney that I have enjoyed covering the past 16 basketball seasons. That said, I would like to see a schedule change for next year.
First, the varsity games started approximately an hour and a half later than necessary. The opening-round varsity game did not finish until nearly 9:10 p.m., and the follow-up contest, Norwich versus Oxford, began at 9:35 p.m. That is typically the time when varsity games are completed, and kids/fans are on their way home. As it turned out, the final horn for the second game rang at 11:04 p.m. That’s way too late for everyone. Kids, parents, teachers, referees – and anyone with a day job – have likely been up and about since 6:30 or 7 a.m. (or earlier). That’s just a long, long day, and for most people, and it doesn’t lend itself to peak performance. If it was a Saturday, then I could see the late games since many people (yours truly not included) do not work on weekends.
The reason for these late starts and finishes is the integration of the two junior varsity games on the high school basketball court forcing the drawn-out slate. In just about every previous year, the JV games were played on the Norwich Middle School court, and ran concurrently with the varsity games.
If it is desired to keep the junior varsity games at the high school in future years, I have a suggestion: Since we have local teams at the tournament, how about playing the two first-round junior varsity games on Thursday night at 6 and 7:45 p.m.? Friday, the varsity games would play at the usual times of 6 and 7:45 p.m., and Saturday’s schedule would be completely at the discretion of the school.

– 2010 Norwich graduate, Sarah Bonnell, a freshman at Cortland State, was named SUNYAC Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week. Bonnell won the 55-meter dash, and 200-meter dash at the St. Lawrence Holiday Relays last Saturday to help Cortland capture the team title. Bonnell set a meet record in the latter event, a time of 27.05 seconds.
Bonnell was home during the short Thanksgiving break, and I saw her working out at the Norwich YMCA. She told me she was running indoor track, and wasn’t sure how she would stack up since she has not run competitive 55-meter dashes – and probably had little to no indoor track and field experience running the 200-meter dashes. I told her, as long as she is winning races, the times would take care of themselves. Looks like any uncertainty she felt was unfounded as she is off to spectacular start to her freshman season.

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