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Basketball teams open section with wins

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Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Norwin forward Matt Stewart drives by Hempfield guard Tyler Handlan during their Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, game in North Huntingdon Township.
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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 8:50 p.m.

Norwin's boys and girls basketball teams jumped out to winning starts in Section 1-AAAA play last week.

The Norwin boys scored an impressive win by knocking off last year's section co-champion, Hempfield, 48-45, at home on Friday.

Curtis Perz continued his strong start since transfering to Norwin by scoring a game-high 19 points, while Matt Stewart added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Knights (3-2, 1-0). Kason Harrell scored 16 to lead Hempfield (4-1, 0-1), but his 3-point attempt to tie the game in the closing seconds bounced off the rim and into the hands of Perz.

“It was a heck of a high school basketball team, and it was well-battled both ways,” Norwin coach Lynn Washowich said. “Give my kids a ton of credit, to hold a team like Hempfield to 45 points is a huge credit to their defensive effort.”

The Knights got the section win two days after falling at host Franklin Regional, 61-46, in the final of the Mike Rettger Tournament. The loss was a learning experience for Norwin, which had to adjust to the Panthers' spread-out, five-guard lineup.

“I think that game was a learning experience, more so for the coaches than for our guys,” Washowich said.

“Basketball isn't like football where you can just be better than the other team; it's all about matchups. Franklin did something that's bad for us by spreading the court and making us take kids away from the hoop. As a staff, it made us realize we needed a zone defense and some other things, and it helped us against Hempfield, which is also very guard-oriented.”

The Knights were scheduled to face another guard-oriented section team in Kiski Area on Tuesday, after this edition's deadline. Norwin's last game before Christmas is Friday, when it hosts Latrobe at 7:30 p.m.

Norwin's girls started the section campaign on the right note by snapping a three-game losing streak with a 66-43 win at Latrobe last Thursday.

Alayna Gribble led the Knights with 16 points, Rachel Keto scored 13, and Dominique Petach added 12 in the win. Emma Kate Womack led Latrobe (0-3, 0-1) with 16 points.

Norwin (2-4, 1-1) suffered a setback in its section section game on Monday when it fell, 47-42, at home against section-leading Hempfield (5-0, 2-0).

Gribble led the Knights with 15 points and Keto scored 11, while Monica Burns scored 15, and Leah Knizner scored 14 for the Spartans.

The last game before Christmas for the Norwin girls is a section contest at home against Connellsville this Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or

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