Norwich will bring one of New York’s six unblemished boys basketball records into Section 4’s Class B championship game, scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday against Oneonta.
Had someone suggested such a distinction on Day 1 of preseason?
“We always want to win every game, go one step at a time, and it just happens to be 19-0,” said senior forward Storm Cook, who contributed 17 points and three of his team’s 12 3-pointers in a 78-57 semifinal victory against Whitney Point.
As for the root of that 19-0 record: “I think our defense is so good,” he said. “We play as a team, we hustle every play. I think we’re just like a family.”
The sectional final will be the third Norwich-Oneonta matchup of the season. The Purple Tornado has defeated the Yellowjackets (17-2) by seven- and 23-point margins.
Norwich is ranked third among the state’s Class B teams, behind Syracuse Westhill (21-0) and Ogdensburg Free Academy (19-1). Westhill will play Utica Notre Dame for Section 3’s championship Saturday.
Oneonta was a 60-49 winner over Susquehanna Valley in its semifinal, behind senior Paul Bischoff’s 23 points and a collective 21 points from its reserves.
The champions from Sections 3 and 4 will meet March 8 in a state quarterfinal on Section 4 turf.
Norwich coach Tom Collier was asked to sum up his team’s postseason potential.
“Whatever they want it to be, it’s up to them,” he said. “I think they can win every game. I don’t know what’s out there, I haven’t really looked at Westhill, haven’t looked at anybody else. I just know what we can do. We focus on winning every game. That’s our main focus. I think they have the ability to win every game.
“We know kind of through the summer what we did, all the time we put in. We believe we can win every game.”
Vestal’s girls earned space in the Class A final by taking apart Owego in the fourth quarter of last week’s 53-37 win, one accompanied by a twinge of bittersweet on the part of Golden Bears coach Joe Reynolds.
Reynolds is an Owego graduate — “Class of 1997, state championship baseball team, second base,” as he proudly stated postgame.
“I still bleed blue and red. There’s still a little sting in that win for me. I used to follow (Indians coach Scott Snyder) around, he used to live right down the street from me. He taught me how to get in trouble real well.”
Ahead for Vestal is the final against top-seeded Maine-Endwell, 6 p.m. Friday at the Arena. The teams split their regular-season meetings.
“We’re the underdog and rightfully so,” Reynolds said. “They went to the state championship game (last March) and if they didn’t have a bad quarter up there, they probably would have won it. They lost only one girl from that team and she was a role player.”
Clash of unbeatens
Section 4’s Class D girls bracket presents an uncommon semifinal scenario: A matchup of two of the top-three teams in state rankings, both with perfect records.
Come 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at SUNY-Oneonta, it will be top-ranked South Kortright (19-0) vs. third-ranked defending champion Franklin (18-0), with the winner to oppose either top-seeded Southern Cayuga or Schenevus in Saturday’s title game.
Tori Rockefeller’s 20-point, eight-rebound outing headed South Kortright’s 53-29 quarterfinal rout of Cherry Valley/Springfield.
The 1-2 punch of Jordan Beers and Marisa Cawley teamed for all but six of Franklin’s points in a 49-32 quarterfinal victory over Morris. Those girls also combined for 26 rebounds.
Southern Cayuga was the most convincing quarterfinal winner, rolling 72-33 past Afton.
Thursday’s Section 4 Class AA boys final pits Union-Endicott against Elmira, three weeks after the two had at it in one of the highest scoring games played within sectional boundaries this winter.
In that Feb. 6 contest, the teams combined for 56 fourth-quarter points before the Express pulled out a 93-91 win in overtime. Nineteen 3-pointers were converted that night, and Elmira grabbed the win despite being outscored by 18-3 from the free throw line.
Nine players scored 13 or more points that night at Elmira.
The City Game
Queens power Christ The King, which in December claimed the program’s fourth Mirabito STOP-DWI Holiday Classic championship, was done in by 2012 STOP-DWI champion Bishop Loughlin, 90-71 in Friday’s CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens tourney final.
Khadeen Carrington, tournament MVP in 2012 in Binghamton, had 42 points on 15-for-19 shooting from the field against Christ The King. He has committed to play at Seton Hall University.
“The kid is an amazing player and the performance that he displayed today was unbelievable,” Loughlin coach Edwin Gonzalez told The Daily News. “There’s a certain look in his eye, I know that look, he had it in the last game and he had it this game, so I knew he was up for a big performance.”
In a late-January game against Christ The King, Carrington scored his 2,000th varsity point.