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Norwin girls rout Albert Gallatin to stay in section hunt

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 10:27 p.m.

The WPIAL Section 1-AAAA girls basketball race is becoming a wild one, and Norwin is in the thick of the madness.

Sophomore guard Alayna Gribble scored 29 points, and the Knights raced to a 86-51 victory over visiting Albert Gallatin on Wednesday night, moving them within 1 12 games of first-place Penn-Trafford.

Norwin (7-5, 5-1) shook off a home loss to Penn-Trafford to win for the third time in the past four games heading into Thursday night's section matchup at Latrobe, the Knights' third game in as many days.

“The girls are doing a nice job of staying emotionally stable,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “They're rolling with the ups and downs of a season.”

Sophomore Jenna Cole added 10 points for Norwin, which remained narrowly ahead of third-place Hempfield in the section race.

While Norwin goes on the road Thursday, Penn-Trafford welcomes Laurel Highlands and Hempfield hosts Connellsville.

“We talk about keeping our focus near,” Brozeski said. “It's that old one-game-at-a-time mentality. That works best when you're in a race like this.”

Behind Gribble, Norwin jumped on Albert Gallatin en route to a 43-16 halftime lead. The Knights were ahead after three quarters 67-32 while Brozeski was emptying his bench.

Diamond Madison scored 24, and Ally Rudolph added 21 to account for all but six of Albert Gallatin's points. The Colonials (5-7, 2-5) lost their fifth consecutive game.

Brozeski credited Norwin for playing with high intensity just one night after the Knights' 45-39 loss to Penn-Trafford.

“The mental part of the game is a big aspect in high school athletics,” he said. “It was the first thing we talked about before the game tonight. I could tell that the girls were going to be ready to play.”

Gribble, among others, certainly was. Brozeski said her consistent play all season is being noticed by college coaches.

“She's really a versatile player,” he said. “She's got a great inside-outside game and she can rebound. She's becoming one of the best players in the WPIAL. She's getting significant looks throughout the country.”

She's also getting noticed at home.

“She's such a competitive person,” Brozeski said. “Even in the classroom, where I teach her, she's always challenging herself to do more.”

With 10 games remaining, including a rematch with Penn-Trafford in the regular-season finale, Norwin still has plenty of time to take on more challenges, too.

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

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