Norwich boys, Harpursville girls looking for spots in state basketball semifinals

Norwich boys, Harpursville girls looking for spots in state basketball semifinals

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Norwich boys, Harpursville girls looking for spots in state basketball semifinals

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Two of New York’s four undefeated boys basketball teams will square off with a trip to Glens Falls at stake in the marquee matchup of Saturday’s quarterfinal basketball quadruple-header at Binghamton University’s Events Center.

Third-ranked Norwich (20-0) and top-ranked Syracuse Westhill (22-0) are scheduled for a 1:45 p.m. tip-off in their second Class B quarterfinal clash in as many years. Last March, Westhill held on for a 59-58 win after building a 16-point second-half lead.

“This will be the ultimate challenge for our defense,” said Norwich coach Tom Collier, whose team limited Oneonta to 28 points in last Saturday’s Section 4 final.

Junior guard Jordan Roland is a 23-per-game scorer whose 55 3-point goals are tops on a team that has converted 165 from beyond the arc this season. His brother, Ryan Roland, has 42 3-pointers. Tyler Reynolds is a 6-foot-5 forward averaging 17 points and seven rebounds per game.

In last year’s meeting, Jordan Roland scored 27 points and Reynolds 14, while Michael Sutton’s 26 led Norwich.

“They actually have more weapons this year,” Collier said of the Warriors. “Their offense is like a well-oiled machine when they get going. They read and react offensively better than any team I’ve seen. They just do everything so well, and I think Kevin King is a tremendous coach.”

Michael Oralls, a versatile senior respectfully known as “Rambo” in Norwich circles, has been undergoing treatment for an ankle ailment but is expected to play.

“We’ll be ready. I think we can compete with them. I think we can cause some problems for them,” Collier said.

The four-game card begins with a noon contest pitting Oneonta against Utica Notre Dame in a Class B girls contest featuring a pair of Division I signees — the Yellowjackets’ Mariah Ruff (Saint Bonaventure) and the Jugglers’ Emily Durr (Iowa State). They were Albany City Rocks teammates on the AAU circuit.

Oneonta’s 51-44 win last Saturday over Norwich for the program’s seventh consecutive Section 4 championship required recovery from a 10-point, third-quarter deficit.

At Onondaga CC …

The girls from Harpursville and Little Falls will bring matching 22-0 records into their Class C quarterfinal, scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start at Onondaga Community College. Paramount in the Hornets’ preparations? “Take care of the basketball. Break their press,” coach Kurt Ehrensbeck said.

A 2-2-1, three-quarter-court alignment is a staple of the Mounties, who’ll likely send out a starting unit of four players who stand 5-foot-8 to go with 5-foot-11 Gen Schoff, MVP of the Section 3 tournament.

“Schoff is a very good post player with great footwork,” Ehrensbeck said. “She can get to where she wants to get to, especially when she catches the ball where she wants to. And she’s good from 17 feet, too.”

Hornets senior Miranda Drummond enters the game with a 26.2-per-game scoring average, and in four Section 4 tournament games that was bumped to 34.3.

“Offensively, we just can’t have empty possessions,” Ehrensbeck said. “They get a lot of their points, it seems, off the press. If we’re able to get out and get to the rim, I’ll be happy.”

Immediately preceding that game will be a Class C boys contest pitting Elmira Notre Dame against Waterville, the latter a state playoff participant for the first time in a dozen years. Notre Dame, Section 4 champion for the second time in three years, is three wins from the program’s second state title — the first claimed in 1978.

Class D girls get the OCC card jumpstarted with a noon game between unbeaten Franklin and Hamilton, in which the Emerald Knights will have to contend with Section 4’s No. 2 all-time female scorer, Jordan Beers.

At 1:45 it’ll be a Class D boys quarterfinal with Davenport and New York Mills bringing 20-1 records to the floor. New York Mills has strung 15 wins since being beaten by Norwich in the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic.

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