Share This Page

Dominating defense carries North Allegheny to victory over Norwin

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 11:33 p.m.

The Norwin boys basketball team prepared extensively for North Allegheny's defense in the days leading up to their meeting in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.

The Knights found out quickly, however, that practice was no substitute for the real thing.

No. 3 seed North Allegheny (20-3) held Norwin to 36 points, its lowest point total since the first weekend of the season, and rolled to a 66-36 victory Wednesday night at Fox Chapel. The Knights lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

“We didn't turn it over a ton,” Norwin coach Lynn Washowich said. “We certainly committed turnovers. You know against a team like that you're going to commit some turnovers, but it just took us out of our rhythm, and we didn't just shoot the ball well.”

Using a full-court pressure defense that frequently trapped the player handling the basketball, North Allegheny gave Norwin's offense fits. The Tigers forced a 10-second violation on Norwin's opening possession and held the Knights (13-10) to five points in the first quarter.

The Tigers' strong defense helped them overcome a slow start offensively. Class AAAA's third-highest scoring team managed only 23 points in the first half, but North Allegheny still led by 10 at halftime.

Norwin cut its deficit to 18-13 late in the second quarter, but Zach Bryan was called for an offensive foul on a made basket that could have made it even closer.

North Allegheny responded by scoring the final five points of the first half and led by double digits the rest of the way.

“We did not shoot the ball well at all, but the defensive effort from the beginning to the end was tremendous,” North Allegheny coach Dave DeGregorio said. “We rebounded the ball. It's good for the kids to see even if we're not shooting the ball well, if we get after it on the defensive end we can win games.”

Washowich said the Knights tried to take away North Allegheny's outside shooting, and that part of the game plan worked; the Tigers made just two 3-pointers in the game. However, the penetrating ability of Mike Fischer, Luke Gwaltney and Mike Carter got North Allegheny's offense rolling.

The Tigers outscored Norwin, 23-15, in the third quarter, effectively putting away the game.

“They're 20-3 for two reasons,” Washowich said. “They play ridiculously hard on defense, and offensively, unlike most high school teams, when you take one thing away, they can score another way. … They just have so many players that can shoot and penetrate with the basketball.”

Fischer led North Allegheny with 14 points, and Gwaltney added 12.

Drew Morgan scored nine points to lead Norwin.

North Allegheny advances to the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals, where it will meet Hempfield on Saturday at a time and site to be determined.

“(When) you're in it, you've got to get the W, and then you move on to the next game right away,” DeGregorio said. “You forget about (tonight's game) real quick, and we prepare for whoever won that other game as soon as we get on the bus.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.