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Norwin runs past Falcons, moves to brink of playoff spot

| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 10:58 p.m.
Connellsville's Caleb Pittsment (25) looks for a lane while being guarded by Norwin's Matthew Stewart during Tuesday's game. Lori Padilla/For the Daily Courier

Although the Connellsville boys basketball team turned in an impressive second half Tuesday, it wasn't enough to complete a rally against Norwin.

The Knights used a 12-0 run in the second quarter to break a 10-all tie and they never trailed again on their way to a critical 64-46 victory over the Falcons in Section 1-AAAA.

“We did a good job of being aggressive and getting the basketball to the rim,” Norwin coach Lynn Washowich said. “We were smart and kept our cool.”

Norwin endured a five-game losing streak in January, but has rebounded with a pair of wins to start this month. The Knights (10-9, 7-4) can seal a playoff spot with a win over Penn-Trafford on Friday.

For the Falcons (6-15, 2-9), a lack of offensive execution in the first half proved costly. Connellsville managed just 14 first-half points and trailed by eight at halftime.

“The final score was not indicative of how we played,” Connellsville coach Dan Bosnic said. “I thought our zone bothered them, but offensively, we struggled and that did us in.”

Despite their first-half flaws, the Falcons stayed in the game thanks to a strong inside game from Trent Bauer, who finished with a game-high 23 points, including 17 in the second half.

“I thought we did a better job in the second half of recognizing him, and he did a good job,” Bosnic said.

Jade Maher's steal and layup at the end of the third quarter pulled Connellsville to 37-29. Then with five minutes left in the fourth, Jim Leichliter, who finished with 10 points, made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 41-34. However, every time Connellsville attempted to make a run to get back in the game, the Knights answered with a big shot.

Matthew Stewart hit a couple of big layups in the third quarter and Curtis Perz iced it with a pair of huge 3-pointers in the fourth. Perz led Norwin with 19 points while Stewart added 18 points.

“We hit a couple of big shots at opportune times and we were able to hold on from there,” Washowich said.

Bosnic wasn't happy with the loss, but he admired his team's effort.

“The kids were fighting, but we're not there yet where we can overcome deficits,” Bosnic said. “Stewart is a really good basketball player and Perz can really shoot. They hit some big ones and that changes the momentum of the game. I'm not disappointed with our effort, but we have to get better.”

The Falcons will close the season at Albert Gallatin on Friday.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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