Second-place Knights add two section wins
As section play reaches its midpoint, Norwin's girls basketball team is setting itself up to play some big late-season games.
The Knights maintained a share of second place in Section 1-AAAA with a pair of section wins after returning from their holiday break, as they defeated Albert Gallatin on the road Thursday, 63-42, and Laurel Highlands at home Monday, 75-29.
The wins keep Norwin (6-5, 4-1) in a three-way tie for second place with Latrobe and Penn-Trafford entering this Thursday's round of games, when Norwin hosts Kiski Area (2-9, 2-3) at 7:30 p.m.
“We're sticking to our initial game plan of getting better each game and working toward peaking at the end of the year,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said.
“No matter who we're playing, we want to focus on our own development and try to motivate ourselves with that goal of improving.”
The Knights got a good road test from Albert Gallatin (4-6, 1-4), which stayed within 10 points of Norwin all the way into the final quarter. Norwin pulled away by outscoring the Colonials, 25-10, in the final quarter for a win in Fayette County.
Natalie Dittig led the Knights with 13 points, and Rachel Keto added 10. Allie Rudolph led all scorers with 15 for Albert Gallatin.
Against struggling Laurel Highlands (0-12, 0-5), Norwin pulled away early and took a 46-15 advantage to the locker room at halftime.
Rachel DelleFemine led all scorers with 16 points for Norwin, Alayna Gribble added 15, and Laura Buchanan scored 12 for Norwin, while no Laurel Highlands player scored in double figures in the blowout.
That five different players, three of whom are not regular starters, put up high-scoring games for Norwin is just another sign that the depth Brozeski is trying to cultivate is coming along.
“We've had some individuals doing a good job of filling roles. There are people in there that can score, some that are good at running the offense, and some that are doing a good job rebounding,” Brozeski said.
“Julia Carter's stepped up as a big-time leader by being consistent on defense, and our older girls inside are bringing whatever they can, whether it's rebounding or defense. What's good is that every night, someone different is stepping up.”
Norwin will need to continue to step up with some challenging games ahead, including the first meeting of the year with rival Penn-Trafford on the road Tuesday at 6 p.m. After that comes games against Latrobe and Hempfield, which makes Knights' next four games in the section against the four best teams, apart from themselves.
“We just want to make sure we're taking steps forward,” Brozeski said.
“We want them to enjoy the experience and the challenge coming up, and the easiest way to do that is to just go out there and play hard.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.