It has been awhile since the Skyline faithful have been able to cheer a victory by the Thunderbird boys’ basketball team. Not since a win in the 54 Classic (mid-January) have the T-Birds chalked up a ‘W’. Tuesday at home, the Skyliners got their second win of the season by downing Norwich 62-52—a team they had lost to earlier.
This time, however, it was the T-Birds who would prevail on the strength of a good team effort, both offensively and defensively.
The Thunderbirds were able to score in the paint and control the boards throughout the contest. “We were able to get the ball inside,” Skyline head coach Justin Miltner observed. “Plus, we were good on the boards. We were able to score quite a few put-back points and keep Norwich from getting very many second chances.”
In many of their games this season, the T-Birds have had their moments—quarters or stretches in which they outplayed their opponents. However, this was one of the few times that Skyline has played a complete game, the Thunderbirds outscoring Norwich in every quarter.
Skyline took a 12-7 lead after one frame, Brandon Abbott scoring 5 points to lead the T-Birds. In the second quarter, Dustin Weber’s 6 points paced the Thunderbirds on the way to a 29-22 advantage at the break.
In the second half, Cole Patterson shouldered the offensive load, scoring all of his team-high 16 points. Those three T-Birds each finished the game in double figures, Abbott with 14 and Weber with 10 in addition to Patterson’s 16.
In the 4th quarter, Norwich tried to make a run at Skyline but the T-Birds were up to the challenge. At times, it may have seemed as though Skyline was a little bit impatient down the stretch, pushing the offense rather than trying to take the air out of the ball to protect the lead. But that was just what Coach Miltner wanted.
“I was scared to take the foot off the throttle too much,” Miltner explained. “ With our team not being exactly used to protecting a lead, I was afraid we might get tentative if we tried to slow it down too much. I thought we should just keep playing.”
Norwich got close, but in the end they had to go to Chop City. Colin Little, Abbott and Patterson all made free throws in the final minute to turn aside the Eagles, 62-52.
SKYLINE 12 17 15 18 62
NORWICH 7 15 14 16 52
Gilpin 7; Little 1; Cole Patterson 16; Hogan 2; Brandon Abbottt 14; Dustin Weber 10;Lee 5; McComb 7