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Norwin basketball teams stay in action over the summer

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Doug Gulasy | Norwin Star
Norwin rising senior Nick Palo (center) battles for a rebound during a Pittsburgh Basketball Club summer game against Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Tuesday, June 28, 2013, at Gateway High School.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Norwin Star
Norwin sophomore Amanda Batey dribbles the ball during the Knights' playoff game against Bethel Park on Feb. 19, 2013, at Woodland Hills High School.

While the Norwin boys and girls basketball teams are both staying busy over the summer, their coaches are taking different approaches to their offseason work.

Both teams played in summer leagues — the boys in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club high school league and the girls in the McKeesport Girls Basketball Summer League — in addition to participating in open gyms at the high school.

Girls basketball coach Brian Brozeski said he took the time to put some of the offensive and defensive foundations in place for next season.

“We try to set the foundation in the summer, try and take some base concepts that we want to make sure the girls have a solid grasp of, both with the offense and the defensive side of things,” Brozeski said. “We don't try to get too involved — a lot of the summer league play, we run some of our stuff, but a lot of it is impromptu plays and things of that sort. But we just try to get a base started in the summer.”

Boys coach Lynn Washowich, meanwhile, took the opposite approach.

“We have not worked on one defensive or offensive concept yet,” Washowich said. “We are solely focused on skill development — dribbling, shooting, making ourselves quicker and stronger.”

One of the problems with getting too technical in the summer, Washowich said, is that it's rare to hold a practice with the full team. Because of the players' other commitments — work, vacations and other sports — Washowich said the number of players available can range from 10 to 20 players on a certain day.

“Summer is different and unique because we do a lot of basketball stuff, (but) you don't really do any team-oriented things,” Washowich said. “Our identity is really yet to be known. You know a lot about your personnel, but until you get that whole component there and put it together and see what it looks like, (you can't do much).

“I know the base setup of what we're going to do (offensively). But what we're going to do off of it, honestly, I don't know because you have to make sure everyone's there, everyone's healthy, and see how they mesh together.”

Brozeski said the girls are also dealing with busy schedules this summer, and for that reason, he hasn't gotten too technical. However, he said the team had good participation overall so far this summer.

“The girls are putting in a lot of good quality hours. It's not necessarily about the quantity,” he said. “But the time they come to the gym and the time they're there, there's a good number of girls there, the turnout's been great and the work ethic they're putting in has been great.”

In addition to the open gyms, members of the Norwin girls team took part in lifting, core stability and speed workouts with physical education teacher Ted Jasko. Brozeski said the improved strength and conditioning from those workouts benefited the team's rebounding this summer.

The team had success at the McKeesport summer league, with the varsity team finishing 8-2 and the junior varsity winning the championship. Brozeski said 16 junior varsity teams and 20 varsity teams, mainly from WPIAL's Class AAA and Class AAAA, competed in the McKeesport league.

“As nice as the records were, it was even better to see the growth,” Brozeski said. “The girls really came a long way from first game of summer league to last game, as far as style of play and their ability to digest both defense and offense.”

The girls team also held a camp for students in third through eighth grades and plans to hold another one in the fall, Brozeski said.

The Norwin boys team, meanwhile, competed in Pittsburgh Basketball Club games at Gateway High School. While the Knights didn't advance to the summer league playoffs, Washowich said competing against non-section opponents like Jeannette, Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Fox Chapel helped the team improve.

“You can only do so much against each other,” Washowich said. “When we do our work in the summer, we do go up and down the floor, but not in a 5-on-5 setting. It's all with the ball, and working on handling the basketball. You obviously still need to play games. Even if you don't have your concepts in, it's still good for the kids to play together.”

Brozeski planned on giving the girls team this week and next off, then continue with summer workouts for the remainder of July. Washowich, too, said the team would work through July before getting August off.

Workouts will resume in the fall.

“Before you know it, we'll be back in school,” Brozeski said. “(We'll) wait for that time to come and get started.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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