Norwin's focus at defensive end could play key factor in section play
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Norwin and Latrobe boys basketball teams are scheduled to square off in an early season showdown for first place in Section 1-AAAA Friday.
But unlike the 2010-11 season when the teams tangled in a 115-110 overtime win by Norwin, defense will determine the winner.
In six games, Norwin (4-2, 2-0) has held four opponents to 46 points or less, including 26 to Mt. Pleasant in the season opener and 28 at Kiski Area on Tuesday.
That's a far cry from the 2010-11 season when Norwin averaged 77.9 points per game and allowed 75.9.
Matt Palo and Andy Carter, who led the Knights in scoring that season, are playing college basketball.
The philosophy, like the players, has changed at Norwin.
“We've told the players don't give up easy shots,” Norwin coach Lynn Washowich said. “Make sure the shots they take are away from the basket. Kiski had a horrible night from the 3-point line on Tuesday.”
Norwin, which defeated Kiski Area, 37-28, caught some attention Dec. 14 when it defeated Hempfield, 48-45.
Washowich couldn't stop talking about his team's defensive effort after that game, coming after two poor defensive performances at the season-opening Franklin Regional tournament. He seemed shocked that his team held the high-scoring Spartans to 45 points.
“Defensively, we've been pretty good in four of the games,” Washowich said. “We held down Mt. Pleasant, and most of Hampton's points (62) came off turnovers. Against Monessen and Franklin Regional, we were slow on our rotations.”
Against Hempfield, Curtis Perz and Matt Stewart led the offensive attack. While Hempfield concentrated on stopping Stewart, who finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, Perz, a sophomore transfer from Greensburg Central Catholic, picked up the slack by scoring 19.
Perz is averaging 15 points per game and Stewart 14.
“Curtis has the ability to take the ball to the basket and make a 3-pointer,” Washowich said. “The offense still needs to improve. We know Curtis and Matt will score, but Zach (Bryan) and Nick (Idele) are capable scorers too. We have players who fit certain roles.”
Washowich said he didn't know Perz until he transferred. But it didn't take him long to recognize a talented player.
He now has a nice one-two punch in Perz and Stewart.
“We have a lot of the components to be a good basketball team,” Washowich said. “But will still have a lot of room for improvement both offensively and defensively.”
Latrobe (3-2, 1-0) has won its past two games, including a victory against Greensburg Salem on Tuesday.
The Wildcats opened the season with a win at Farrell on Dec. 7 and beat Kiski Area in section play.
Blake Reeping scored 21 points in Latrobe's 69-55 victory against Greensburg Salem. Ben Havrilla added 16 and sophomore Matt Cullen, who also transferred from Greensburg Central Catholic, added 13.
Latrobe coach Brad Wetzel said he was pleased when his team played its tempo.
“This section is very good,” Washowich said. “It's important to win your home games. If we would have lost to Hempfield at home, it would have been tough to bounce back.”
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-836-5095.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.