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Versatility allows Norwin girls to make frequent changes

| Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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 girls basketball coach Brian Brozeski considers depth to be one of his team's biggest strengths this season.

With that strength comes another: versatility.

Brozeski and his staff tend to change the Knights' offensive and defensive attack modes from game to game, depending on their opponents' strengths and weaknesses. To this point, Norwin (5-4, 3-0 Section 1-AAA) is handling those frequent changes well, Brozeski said.

“The girls have been very receptive to all the different strategies we're trying to implement on both offense and defensive side,” he said. “It's just an ongoing process of seeing what we can do to make ourselves better. The girls have been doing a good job of digesting what we've been trying to go ahead and implement as a game plan.”

While Norwin has four losses, three of them — to Shaler, Bethel Park and North Allegheny — came against opponents ranked in the top five of Trib Total Media's Class AAAA rankings.

“The competition, both in our section and out of our section, has been probably the best we've seen in my years coaching so far,” Brozeski said. “It's good to be able to see the competition level that you're going to need to be at in order to be successful in the posteason.”

Brozeski said a benefit of playing so many difficult opponents is that the Knights get to see a variety of different playing styles. Because of Norwin's depth and versatility, the team can adapt to those different styles. More than 10 players have played this season, and seven have scored in double figures during a game.

“There's different contributors every day,” he said. “It's natural. When you play as many games as we do, there's going to be nights where it's an off night for one person, but another person steps up and they have a stronger night. It's nice that the whole team throughout the season contributes.”

Norwin lost two straight games in nonsection play last week, falling 58-52 to North Allegheny on Monday and 63-54 to Baldwin on Friday, the first day of the Betsy Ross Invitational tournament. But the Knights responded, beating McKeesport 67-38 Saturday behind 32 points from Alayna Gribble.

The Knights will resume section play by hosting Albert Gallatin at 6 p.m. Thursday. At 3-0 in the section, Norwin is tied for first place with Penn-Trafford.

“Right now, I'm happy with how we've handled our section so far,” Brozeski said. “But it's very early yet, so we have to make sure we keep on improving to keep on making sure we're successful.”

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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