The last we saw of Norwich basketball, the boys’ team was in the throes of another second-half comeback, a rally that fell a bucket shy of reaching the team’s ultimate goal: A trip to Glens Falls and the Class B final four.
It was Norwich’s fourth intersectional state playoff game since the Purple Tornado won back-to-back state championships in 1993 and 1994. All four of those games have ended in defeat, but that one-point loss to Westhill – 59-58 – was easily the closest Norwich has come to victory.
Collier said that nine players on this year’s 13-player squad have varsity experience, and seven of those veterans were instrumental figures in last year’s playoff run. That said, all of that experience is no guarantee Norwich will get another shot at a state playoff run.
“I’ve seen a few people who have told me they believe we’re the team to beat this year,” Collier said. “I tell people, ‘we’ll see.”
Indeed, Collier is quick to mention last year’s team chemistry and incredible leadership of departed seniors Kyle Edwards, Grant Brightman, and Danny Carson. Edwards was last year’s leading scorer, and all three were tremendous on the defensive end of the floor. Can this year’s team recreate last year’s dynamic that was a confluence of talent, chemistry, leadership, and intangibles?
Defense remains the Tornado’s calling card. In Collier’s two years at the helm, Norwich has held opponents under 50 points more often than not. While the wins have not always look pretty, Collier anticipates an offense that could be more explosive. In next week’s sports section, we’ll take a more in-depth look at this year’s Norwich club as it vies for a third straight sectional championship.
If you get an opportunity, look up “The Medicine Game” on the Internet. It’s a story of Native Americans Jerome and Jeremy Thompson and their quest to play for Syracuse University’s acclaimed lacrosse team. The documentary is filmed over a seven-year period, and was written, directed and produced by Oxford Academy graduate Lukas Korver and his partner Jason Halpin. The film has already aired on PBS, and may still be available for viewing on the Internet.
Korver, a graduate of SU’s Newhouse School, was honored last month when his film won the Clyde Scott Award for best sports feature at the 22nd Annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. We hope to track Korver down next week for an interview. Said Lukas’s brother Erik, who was credited with the film’s still photography: “Lukas put his life into (that film) for those seven years. We are all pretty proud of him.”
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