ShareThis Page

Norwin girls beat Penn Hills to advance to WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals

Doug Gulasy
| Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, 10:33 p.m.

With an 11-day layoff between the end of the regular season and beginning of the postseason, Norwin girls basketball coach Brian Brozeski worried about his team getting off to a slow start.

As it turned out, start of the game wasn't a problem. The end almost was.

No. 6 seed Norwin (17-5) started hot but needed to stave off a fourth-quarter comeback by Penn Hills in a 55-48 victory Tuesday in a Class AAAA first-round game at Plum.

“We were really happy with the way the girls just kept fighting through there,” Brozeski said. “We went ahead, (but) we knew that was going to be a dogfight going into the game.

“Penn Hills is a very talented team, and they kept fighting to the end. The girls did a nice job of responding.”

The Knights started hot offensively, as a 12-2 run midway through the first quarter enabled them to take a 22-12 lead after one quarter.

Norwin widened its lead to 35-19 by halftime, thanks to five 3-pointers, six points off turnovers and four second-chance points in the first half.

The offense dried up in the third quarter, as Penn Hills began applying more pressure. Norwin scored just six points in the third quarter, but the Knights' defense held Penn Hills to five.

“We stopped getting the ball to the glass, and they amped up the man-to-man pressure,” Brozeski said. “You've got to give them a heck of a lot of credit because their defense was sound and they hit the glass well.”

Penn Hills made its push in the fourth quarter.

Behind guards Jade Ely and Desiree Oliver, who combined for 19 points in the quarter, Penn Hills went on an early 11-2 run. A separate 9-1 run, capped by an Ely layup, made the score 53-48 with 15 seconds left, but Alayna Gribble sealed Norwin's win with two free throws.

“We're a tough-minded group,” Penn Hills coach John Tate said. “We're not going to ever quit. We knew we'd make a run. I knew we'd come back and make it a ball game. A little play here, a missed front end of a one-and-one, a layup that we leave on the table (might have made the difference).”

Oliver scored a game-high 21 points for Penn Hills (14-9), and Ely added 19.

Gribble scored nine of her team-high 18 points for Norwin in the fourth quarter, with Delaney Arbore adding 13.

With the win, Norwin advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. The Knights will play No. 3-seeded Fox Chapel on Friday, at a time and site to be determined.

“This is a big win, just because it's good experience for the girls,” Brozeski said. “You get a couple more practices in, and you increase that learning curve. These girls put so much time and effort and hard work into it, and it's nice to see them being rewarded.”

Doug Gulasy is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.