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Norwin uses early-season experience to rout Latrobe

| Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 10:39 p.m.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News
Latrobe's Taley Dunaway fights for a loose ball with Norwin's Julia Carter (15) and Dominique Petach on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at Norwin.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For Trib Total Media
Norwin's Alayna Gribble drives past Latrobe's Jackie Barcale on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, at Norwin.

Norwin went into its scheduled girls basketball section opener against Latrobe with just one victory in three early-season outings.

The Wildcats had won two of three.

So how did the Knights come away with such a lopsided victory Thursday night?

“Playing in our early games has been a great experience for us,” said Norwin coach Brian Brozeski, whose team faced Trib Total Media top-10 opponents in its first three games. “We like challenges.”

Alyana Gribble, Danielle McMaster and Laura Buchanan scored 12 points apiece and Norwin routed visiting Latrobe, 75-33, in the first WPIAL Section 1-AAAA game for both teams.

Eleven players scored for the Knights (2-2, 1-0), who overcame an early deficit by blitzing the Wildcats (2-2, 0-1) with a 52-16 edge during the second and third quarters combined to pull away.

“This experience tonight is going to help us on down the line,” Brozeski said.

Norwin trailed 10-9 after the first quarter, but went in front early in the second and never fell behind again. The Knights used an 11-0 run to take a 32-16 lead and settled for a 32-18 advantage at halftime.

With the 6-foot-2 Buchanan coming off the bench to notch eight of her points, Norwin outscored Latrobe 29-8 in the third quarter to take a commanding 61-26 lead, holding the Wildcats scoreless for the first 4 minutes and 10 seconds of the period.

“It was really nice to get a lot of the girls in there tonight,” Brozeski said. “Whether some of these girls get in the scorebook or not, they are contributing in other ways, with the intangibles.”

Neither McMaster nor Buchanan were in the Norwin starting lineup.

Brozeski is hoping that Norwin's tough early-season schedule will help the Knights progress into the ranks of the WPIAL's elite teams. Before its victory over Latrobe, Norwin had beaten No. 5 Plum by 12 points and lost to No. 7 Shaler by three and to No. 10 Bethel Park, the defending WPIAL champion, by nine.

For Latrobe, it was the first game against a WPIAL opponent after playing three against District 6 schools. The Wildcats had defeated Class AAA Johnstown and Class A Saltsburg and had lost to Class AA Bishop McCort.

“That's what we're hoping for,” Brozeski said. “We have a lot of leadership on this team, both from the seniors and from the younger players. It's going to be an ongoing performance, but the effort is there. I like where we are right now.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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