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Penn-Trafford hands Norwin first section loss in boys basketball

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
(c) 2012 Lillian DeDomenic
Norwin's Matt Stewart elevates for a reverse layup in the Knights' loss on the road at Penn-Trafford on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
(c) 2012 Lillian DeDomenic
Norwin guard Curtis Perz shoots a contested jumper in the lane against Penn-Trafford during the team's Section 1-AAAA game at Penn-Trafford on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star
(c) 2012 Lillian DeDomenic
Penn-Trafford's Andy Abreu finishes a layup as Norwin's Curtis Perz looks on during the Warriors' win at home on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2013. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Penn-Trafford Star
(c) 2012 Lillian DeDomenic
Penn-Trafford guard Darren Mihm pulls up his dribble during his team's Section 1-AAAA win at home over Norwin on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Norwin Star

With one big fourth quarter, Penn-Trafford went from a huge hole in the playoff race to putting all of the top four places back in play.

The Warriors handed Norwin its first Section 1-AAAA loss in boys basketball by closing the game with a 10-2 run on its way to a 64-54 win at home on Jan. 15.

Corey Stanford scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and Andy Abreu added 19 points and a team-high eight rebounds for Penn-Trafford (11-5, 4-3), which snapped a three-game section losing streak. Matt Stewart had 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead Norwin (8-6, 5-2).

“I think we're going to start rolling now,” Abreu said. “We had a little slump where we lost our focus and started to slide down a little bit, but I think we're back in it now.”

Norwin, which entered the game as the only 5-0 team in the section, led 45-42 entering the final quarter. But the offensive rebounding and balanced scoring that put Norwin in the lead became Penn-Trafford's formula to take the lead late.

Five different P-T players scored in the final quarter, while Norwin had just two field goals in the final period — a mid-range jumper by Zach Bryan and a driving lay-up by Stewart.

“It's nice to hear that (five players scored) because it hasn't been that way for a while. Those guys know that,” Penn-Trafford coach Ryan Yarosik said. “When Corey has the ball, sometimes we just sit back and watch him. We tell the guys to move and help each other out, and we're starting to get that motion offensively.”

“We just lost our composure, and that happens in a big game,” Norwin coach Lynn Washowich said.

“We took a host of bad shots in the fourth quarter. We consider anything that's contested a bad shot, and I'm going to guess we took about 12 of them in the fourth quarter. P-T didn't take contested shots, and that was the difference in the game.”

The Warriors' defense led to its first lead of the second half, when Dorian Stevens got a steal and set up Stanford for a layup in transition that put Penn-Trafford ahead, 47-46.

The teams traded the lead until Christian Rohaus opened up a four-point advantage for P-T with a 3-pointer. Norwin stayed close until Rohaus hit Darren Mihm with a back-door pass for a wide-open layup that began the game-ending run and made the score 56-52.

“When we're all five there on the court contributing, we're very good,” Abreu said. “On that play, me, Corey, Dorian, we're all coming to try and get the ball, and then Darren cuts back door, and he's wide open. That's what we need.”

Penn-Trafford opened the game with a 17-6 run that had the home crowd excited, but Norwin responded with a 13-1 run of its own that was fueled by its advantage on the glass. Near the midway point of second quarter, the Knights had a 13-6 edge in rebounds, but by the end of the game, Penn-Trafford cut the final margin to 33-27 — a one-rebound P-T advantage over the final two-and-a-half quarters.

“One of the things we talked about at halftime was that when we defended and rebounded, it got us a 17-10 lead (after one quarter),” Yarosik said. “We lost that edge in the second quarter, and I don't know if we got winded, but we said in the second half that we were going to use our five timeouts to make sure we were rested and ready to go rebound.”

Both teams posted the same result in section games on Friday. Penn-Trafford picked up a 75-31 win over Albert Gallatin, led by 16 points each from Rohaus, Stanford and Stevens, while at the same time, Norwin fell against Hempfield, 56-50, led by 23 points from Stewart.

The result of last week's games is a five-team race for the section title and four playoff spots. Norwin entered the week tied with Hempfield and Kiski Area atop the section at 5-2, while P-T and Latrobe are a game behind at 4-3. With two full rounds of section games this week on Tuesday and Friday, the week began with five teams in control of their own destiny toward claiming a share of the section title.

Norwin travels to Latrobe for a battle of playoff contenders this Friday at 7:30 p.m., while Penn-Trafford has the weekend off ahead of its critical home game against Hempfield on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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

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