Penn-Trafford girls run past rival Norwin
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Penn-Trafford and Norwin girls teams were evenly matched in the half-court game, but when their matchup turned into end-to-end basketball, the Warriors' strength was apparent.
P-T took an eight-point lead to halftime but blew the game open after the break, as the Warriors raced away for a 62-36 win over their Section 1-AAAA rivals at home on Jan. 15.
Taylor Cortazzo led all scorers with 19 points, Maria Palarino scored 16, and Maddy Mossellem scored 11 for the Warriors (13-2, 8-1). Madi Guffey led Norwin (8-8, 6-3) with 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Penn-Trafford led at halftime, 30-22, but in the second half, the Warriors pulled away with defense that held Norwin to 14 second-half points, and that led to easy baskets of their own in the open floor.
“We just focused more on our defense in the second half,” Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said.
“(Norwin) did a good job of taking away our transition in the first half, but in the second half, we rebounded better, and that led to transition baskets. In the first half, they killed us on the boards.”
The final rebound total — 35-31 in favor of the Knights — was an edge Norwin built up by using their height advantage and getting offensive boards, but once P-T improved its play on the defensive glass, the Knights got pulled into the sort of fast-break game that favored the Warriors.
“We have strengths with our height and our rebounding, but we have to use those things to our advantage,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “Once we fell behind a little bit and had to press, you could really see how good Penn-Trafford is at running the floor.”
P-T didn't just look to run on its defensive stops, it took advantage of the break even after Norwin hoops. On back-to-back made baskets by the Knights in the third quarter, the Warriors were able to have a player — first Cortazzo, then Nicole Hyland — slip behind the defense and score an uncontested layup on the other end.
“We did a good job getting the rebounds, but we also did a better job in the second half of spacing for the outlet passes and getting up the court,” Giannikas said.
Penn-Trafford backed up that win with two more section wins against the bottom teams in the standings. P-T topped Laurel Highlands last Thursday, 76-25, and Connellsville on Monday, 62-30.
Cortazzo and Hyland each scored in double figures in both of the wins, which puts Penn-Trafford on a six-game winning streak since losing to Hempfield on Jan. 4.
“We expect to compete every night, and the two games we did lose, we had a chance to win but have some things to fix,” Giannikas said. “What I like is that we're getting a little bit better every game, and that's what I want going into the second half of the season.”
Norwin recovered from its loss with a 65-33 win over Latrobe last Thursday, but the Knights fell on Monday to section-leading and No. 5-ranked Hempfield, 50-42, to virtually end the team's section title aspirations.
Rachel Keto scored double-figures in each of the last two games, and Alayna Gribble posted 21 points in last week's win for the Knights, who remain in possession of third place in the section.
“Whether we win or we lose, we're sticking to the same plan of trying to get better every day,” Brozeski said.
“There's things from this (Penn-Trafford) loss that we can learn from, but it's the same after wins. We're going to keep doing what we've been doing, and that's work hard in practice to get better.”
Norwin travels to Connellsville for a section game this Thursday at 7:30 p.m., while Penn-Trafford travels to Kiski Area at the same time for its final game before the highly anticipated rematch with Hempfield, at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.