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Norwin boys learning from close losses

| Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Norwin's Alexander Haas (24) gains control of a rebound against Hempfield's Nolan Beresford during a game on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 at Hempfield High School.

With his team 2-3 entering this week, Norwin boys basketball coach Lynn Washowich wasn't panicking.

Not when he knew the Knights could just as easily be 4-1.

The Knights began the week on a two-game losing streak after falling 58-52 to Franklin Regional in the Rettger Memorial Tournament championship game and 58-49 to Hempfield in their section opener. In both games, Norwin led at halftime and had a chance to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter before ultimately falling short.

“We think we can be a really good basketball team,” Washowich said. “In those two games, we just didn't finish down the stretch. We got some good looks. The basketball just didn't go in the hoop, and that's going to happen. Really, we're there. We just have to stay focused and keep battling and put it in the hoop a little bit.”

Washowich said many games involving two Class AAAA games are decided by a handful of points, and last week's two losses demonstrated that point. In such games, focus is important on each possession, he said.

“We've been doing that,” he said. “The ball just didn't go in the hoop down the stretch, that's all.”

Through five games, Norwin (2-3, 0-1) is getting production from several key players. Junior Curtis Perz is leading the team in scoring, including performances of 25 and 33 points in the Knights' first five contests, but the team is seeing contributions from everybody on the floor.

“We have skilled basketball players,” Washowich said. “The kids we put on the floor are capable of putting the basketball in the hoop. The one thing I told them in the locker room in Hempfield is just believe in yourself, believe in your ability, and when you get the basketball, be confident and shoot it with confidence. If we do that, we feel we're going to win our share of games.”

Washowich said the team is getting better at being more patient with the basketball.

“We want to play fast without being in a hurry,” he said. “The first couple games, I think we were in a hurry. We were a little out of control (and) were going faster than we should. We were just having too many turnovers. I think we did a good job with that.”

Washowich said the team also is getting better at rebounding, although he wants to see more improvement in that area. He also wants to see better production down the stretch.

Norwin continued section play Tuesday with a home game against Kiski. The contest ended past the deadline for this week's edition. The Knights will travel to Latrobe on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. game.

“This is a huge week,” Washowich said. “We're 0-1 in the section. The loss, although you never want to have a loss, the one positive is it's a loss on the road. Our kids know to do well in section play, you have to win your home games. ... To have a chance to compete to win the section, we have to get both of these.”

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

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