Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2010

Patrick Newell

– For a third straight week, a Norwich athlete will receive our weekly honor as athlete of the week. It’s no fluke either. While other area athletes are definitely putting up numbers worthy of consideration, it is hard to pass on the performance of our honoree tomorrow, who is racking up numbers against the best competition of any area boys team. Check out the article in Friday’s edition.

– The past two or three years, it has seemed that foul shooting on the high school level has taken a downward turn. You would think that a straight-on, wide-open 15-foot shot with no defender and no movement but your own would ensure a high level of success. Measuring this year’s statistics through the first four weeks of the basketball season, no team – boys or girls – averages better than 68.1 percent (Norwich), and for the girls, no team is shooting better than 64.8 percent (G-MU).

Here is the breakdown for each area team we cover in order of success rate:

Boys: Norwich, 68.1 percent (90-for-132); Oxford, 67.4 percent (60-for-89); Bainbridge-Guilford, 67.0 percent (61-for-91); Otselic Valley, 58.1 percent (43-for-74); Unadilla Valley, 56.9 percent (41-for-72); Greene, 54.5 percent (36-for-66); Sherburne-Earlville, 51.7 percent (46-for-89); and G-MU 43.5 percent (17-for-39).
Girls: G-MU, 64.8 percent (35-for-54); Norwich, 61.2 percent (87-for-142); Bainbridge-Guilford, 60.5 percent (46-for-76); Sherburne-Earlville, 55.4 percent (31-for-56); Unadilla Valley, 49.5 percent (54-for-109); Greene, 49.2 percent (32-for-65); Oxford, 44.4 percent (52-for-117); and Otselic Valley, 28.5 percent (8-for-28).

The facts are that only three boys’ teams average better than 60 percent from the foul line, and only four girls’ teams average better than 50 percent as a team. Norwich’s high rate can largely be attributed to its top-two free-throw shooters, Dennis Oralls and Kyle Edwards. Oralls and Edwards are a combined 54-for-63 on the season accounting for 47 percent of their team’s foul shot attempts. If you take those two out of the mix, Norwich is shooting, as a team, just 52 percent from the foul line.
G-MU’s girls lead the back on the strength of senior guard Tanya Barnes. Barnes has 28 foul shot attempts, better than half of her team’s, and is shooting 24-for-28, a nifty 85.7 percent. When Barnes is not at the foul line, the Raiders’ team foul shooting percentage dips well below 50 percent.
Overall, Chenango County’s girls shoot just 53.3 percent from the foul line, while the aggregate of the boys is 59.9 percent. Perhaps young cagers should spend more time practicing their foul shooting rather than spin moves, crossover dribbles, and long-range three-pointers. The statistics speak for themselves.

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