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Boys basketball: Norries helps Rome Free Academy rally past Whitesboro

Ben Birnell
Sports writer
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Posted 2/8/23

Surafia Norries made a big impact for the Rome Free Academy basketball team on Wednesday.

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Boys basketball: Norries helps Rome Free Academy rally past Whitesboro


WHITESBORO – Surafia Norries made a big impact.

Consider it a birthday bump of sorts for the Rome Free Academy freshman.

Norries hit a big three in the third quarter Wednesday and then tallied a team-best 12 points in the fourth quarter as RFA rallied to top host Whitesboro 65-51 on Wednesday in the Tri-Valley League Colonial Division game.

Norries finished with a team-best 23 points with help from a game-best four three pointers, including two in the second half. His season-best is 29 points on Jan. 20 in a win over New Hartford.

Wednesday’s win was a little more special in helping RFA grab control after the team ralliedfrom a six-point deficit with help from a 13-4 run in the third quarter.

Norries added nine points over the final five minutes in the fourth quarter, including finishing a 3-point play with 2:38 to go and giving RFA a nine-point lead. With under 42 seconds remaining and Norries at the free throw line, some RFA fans that made the trip down the road started singing “Happy birthday” to him.

“It feels great to get a win on your birthday,” Norries said. “It is the best thing.”

The effort isn’t a surprise, coach Nick Medicis said. Norries – the youngest player on the roster – is the “engine that makes this team run,” he said.

“He’s been the difference in our turnaround,” said Medicis, whose team is 7-3 since a 2-7 start. “He does all the little things that go unnoticed. … He’s always in the right spot.”

It is a big role for Norries, who Medicis said has started to regain his confidence.

Norries said he “didn’t really shoot much” at the start of the season and wasn’t hitting shots.

“My team helped me build my confidence a lot,” Norries said. “Everybody has been telling me to shoot more.”

RFA also got double-digit points from sophomores Uzziah Grimes (12) and Deandre Neal (11) and senior Jack Lawless (10) in earning a third consecutive win.

Whitesboro led early before trailing 25-22 at the half with help from a late three by Dan Russo (11 points) and another early in the third quarter. The Warriors used a 9-0 run in the third and led by six after two baskets from junior Kyle Meier (team-best 15 points) and another by classmate Tony Dorozynski (11 points).

Grimes then had a putback and followed with two free throws with just over three minutes remaining in the third to help RFA.

Norries’ three with 2:10 remaining in the third gave RFA a lead for good at 33-32.

“We told our guys at halftime that the pace was what we wanted,” Whitesboro coach Garrett Herthum said. “It just feels like when it gets down to the last four minutes we seem tired … and a little careless with the ball. I just thought they kind of beat us up on the inside. We’re not used to that.”

Norries hit another three early in the fourth that helped provide some breathing room. RFA’s lead wasn’t fewer than five in the final five minutes.

Whitesboro (7-10 overall) has three regular-season games remaining, beginning with visiting Jamesville-DeWitt at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We’ll re-group and hopefully be better for it,” Herthum said.

RFA is scheduled to close the regular-season at 7 p.m. Tuesday against visiting New Hartford. Then, sectionals.

“We’re playing about as well as we have all year, which is what you want to be at this point,” Medicis said. “We just want to continue to get better. We want to go into sectionals and be able to try run it and see what happens. The good thing is that we have nothing to lose because no one expects us to win at this point.”


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