Sports Editor’s Playbook, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012

Patrick Newell

It’s been nearly three weeks since my last blog, and I have a bunch of quick hitters to throw out there:

* Looking through the season records of local wrestlers, only two have yet to lose a match – Oxford sophomore Joe Nelson, and Greene junior Mike Beckwith. A handful of grapplers have just one setback. Those one-loss wrestlers include Kyle Stanton and Keegan Cerwinski of Greene; Frank Garcia, Tristan Rifanburg, and Kegan Levesque of Norwich; and Spencer Franklin of Sherburne-Earlville. There are other wrestlers with either unbeaten records or just one loss, but those wrestlers have less than 10 matches this season.

* Norwich’s boys’ basketball team improved to 9-2 Wednesday night beating Chenango Valley on the road. The Tornado are a perfect 4-0 as the visitor, and have played especially well in all of those games. “The kids have been up against a lot this season, and have shown themselves to be resilient,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier. “I think that maybe they aren’t as nervous playing on the road. (Playing on the road) bands them together and has made them tighter.”

* More from Norwich basketball: If you have been to a game this year, you’ll notice that Tom Collier often steps aside during timeouts, and instead relies on his son Brian, an assistant coach, to draw up plays and discuss strategy with the players. The Norwich coaching staff also includes Section IV Hall-of-Famer Tom Dixon, who amassed over 400 career wins as a varsity basketball coach – most of those at New Berlin. “Our coaching staff is a lot like our team,” Tom Collier said. “Everyone is working toward the same goal. One guy adds this, another guy adds this…we all have experience and expertise in different areas.”

* It’s been several years since Bainbridge-Guilford’s boys basketball team has been a factor in the Midstate Athletic Conference. With four wins in a row, B-G is putting itself in position to make the top four in the season-ending conference tournament. During the current win streak, B-G is allowing less than 40 points per game, and that includes holding Hancock to just 39 points. As a basis for comparison, Hancock scored 84 points against Unadilla Valley last week, and 66 against Greene, a 75-point average. Over the last four games, Ryan Porter is averaging 17.5 points per game, and Brooks Harmon 13.

* Some three-point shooting facts: Norwich’s boys have 59 three balls in 11 games to lead the area, but Unadilla Valley’s boys lead in three-pointers per game at 5.6 per contest. The Storm have 50 trifectas in just nine contests. On the girls’ side, Greene is the clear leader with 38 in 10 games. No other team has as many as 20 three balls this season. Greene guard Kaitlin Gorton, whose six threes Wednesday gave her 25 on the season, has eight more than the next highest team – G-MU with 17.

* Sherburne-Earlville senior Briana Vibbard has spent three-plus seasons on the varsity basketball team. Until last week, she had one career double figures scoring game. The last three she amassed career-high games of 18 and 22 points, and followed that up Thursday evening with an 11-point game against DeRuyter in about half a game’s playing time. Vibbard is a tremendous on-the-ball defender, and has created a number of scoring opportunities out of her defense. She is also finding more success with her dribble penetration. “She’s someone who still looks to pass first,” said S-E coach Karen Mulligan. “I see her in practice every day, so I’m not surprised by this.”

* It’s been nearly three months since we lost our longtime outdoors writer, Bob McNitt. He spent 34 years writing for us, and was a staple of our Thursday sports section. No one will ever quite fill Bob’s shoes, but we are pleased to have George Franke stepping in as Bob’s successor. George, like Bob, is a lifetime outdoors enthusiast, hunter, fisherman, conservationist, and lobbyist for outdoors issues. We’ll have more on George in coming weeks, and look for his column next month.

* My growth in Twitter followers is edging up with glacier-like speed. For me, the gist of this social networking site is to provide links to stories, and add some on-site updates from where I am reporting. No, I will not give the 411 on what I am eating for dinner or when I plan to brush my teeth. I am, however, receptive to any sport-related “tweeting” ideas. You can join my small cast of followers @evesunpat.