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Basketball

Norwin sweeps Penn-Trafford

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, 8:55 p.m.
Norwin's Taylor Ingel (left) and Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst chase a loose ball during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Taylor Ingel (left) and Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst chase a loose ball during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) looks to pass under pressure from Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) looks to pass under pressure from Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (left) takes a shot over Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (left) takes a shot over Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Jayla Wehner (22) knocks the ball away from Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (11) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Jayla Wehner (22) knocks the ball away from Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (11) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (11) takes a shot over Norwin's Olivia Gribble (33) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (11) takes a shot over Norwin's Olivia Gribble (33) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) looks for room around Norwin's Jayla Wehner (22) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) looks for room around Norwin's Jayla Wehner (22) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Norwin's Taylor Ingel (center) tries to control the ball under pressure from Penn-Trafford's Kylie Grabowski (25) and Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Taylor Ingel (center) tries to control the ball under pressure from Penn-Trafford's Kylie Grabowski (25) and Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Jessica Kolesar (top) and Penn-Trafford's Athena Biondi (5) dive for a loose ball during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Jessica Kolesar (top) and Penn-Trafford's Athena Biondi (5) dive for a loose ball during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Norwin's Kassidy Battiste (5) battles for a rebound with Penn-Trafford's Taylor Wisniewski (left) and Bella Long (11) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Kassidy Battiste (5) battles for a rebound with Penn-Trafford's Taylor Wisniewski (left) and Bella Long (11) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Danielle McMaster (12) grabs a defensive rebound during the fourth period against Penn-Trafford on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Danielle McMaster (12) grabs a defensive rebound during the fourth period against Penn-Trafford on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Penn-Trafford's Athena Biondi (5) drives to the basket in front of Norwin's Jessica Kolesar (2) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Athena Biondi (5) drives to the basket in front of Norwin's Jessica Kolesar (2) during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (right) takes a shot over Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) late in the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (right) takes a shot over Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) late in the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Maura O'Donnell (right) makes a move to the basket on Penn-Trafford's Stephanie O'Donnell (24) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Maura O'Donnell (right) makes a move to the basket on Penn-Trafford's Stephanie O'Donnell (24) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Penn-Trafford's Taylor Wisniewski (right) puts an offensive rebound up for a shot over Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) late in the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Taylor Wisniewski (right) puts an offensive rebound up for a shot over Norwin's Abi Gabauer (31) late in the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Maura O'Donnell (25) looks for room around Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Maura O'Donnell (25) looks for room around Penn-Trafford's Mackenzie Aunkst (2) during the first period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Penn-Trafford's Rachel Casper (3) is pressured by Norwin's Taylor Ingel (20) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Rachel Casper (3) is pressured by Norwin's Taylor Ingel (20) during the second period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin leads 25-20 at halftime.
Norwin's Danielle McMaster (center) is fouled by Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (left) as she drives to the basket during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.
Ken Reabe Jr. | For The Tribune-Review
Norwin's Danielle McMaster (center) is fouled by Penn-Trafford's Bella Long (left) as she drives to the basket during the fourth period on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Norwin. Norwin won 37-34.

As with most rivalry games, there was agitation on both ends, physical play and moments when both teams felt disquieted.

Norwin didn't have the fast start it had when it played Penn-Trafford last month, but the Lady Knights finished with a strong second half to down the Warriors and sweep the season series, 47-34, in a Section 2-6A game Friday night in North Huntingdon.

Thirteen fouls in the first nine minutes seemed to set the tone, and it was up to the teams to adjust. Norwin (10-4, 5-1) keeps winning and doesn't necessarily care how it looks doing so.

“It wasn't pretty, in fact it was borderline sloppy,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “But I am proud of the way our girls battled back. You never know who will be hot for us each game. These games (with Penn-Trafford) are always close.”

The rivalry's future appears to be in good hands as freshmen played key roles in the teams' second meeting.

Freshman Jayla Wehner made three 3-pointers and put up a season-high 11 points for the Knights, who will take a five-game winning streak into Tuesday's showdown at first-place Penn Hills (11-2, 5-0).

“Jayla gave us a nice little spark,” Brozeski said. “I thought she made a big difference offensively and defensively. She jump-started us.”

Bella Long, Penn-Trafford's ninth-grade sharpshooter, led her team with 10 points.

The game's outcome was decided in the third quarter when Norwin's offense roared to life, and Penn-Trafford went cold.

Norwin took a 25-20 lead into halftime, but Long cut it to 25-23 with her second 3. Danielle McMaster's 3 stretched the lead to 31-23, but Kylie Grabowski hit a pull-up jumper for Penn-Trafford (7-6, 2-4).

But the Warriors went more four minutes without another field goal, and Norwin senior Abi Gabauer flipped a switch for the Knights, scoring seven consecutive points — a floater, breakaway layup and a 3 — to push Norwin's lead to 38-25 after three quarters.

“We had too much of a drought,” Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said. “That was the difference in the game. It was a tough, hard-nosed game. Both teams played hard. Their four-minute spurt was better than ours.”

Penn-Trafford, which had just five points in the third, could only cut it to 10 in the fourth. Athena Biondi attacked the basket and grabbed rebounds for the Warriors. She scored nine, and Mackenzie Aunkst added eight.

Gabauer finished with a game-high 17 points, nine in the third.

“You're only going to contain great players for so long,” Giannikas said. “And they really had some freshmen step up.”

Penn-Trafford led 12-7 after the first quarter, with Long connecting on a buzzer-beating 3.

Norwin continued to substitute players with rapidity, and the rest helped against the aggressive Warriors.

Wehner made a 3 to tie it 12-12, and Rachel Casper made a jumper to give Penn-Trafford a 14-12 lead. But four free throws, two each by Gabauer and Wehner, and a 3 from the wing by Wehner put the Knights up 16-14. They did not trail again.

Senior Danielle McMaster finished with eight points for Norwin, all in the second half. She sliced down the lane for a layup with a minute left to make it 45-32.

With momentum, Norwin will look to take down Penn Hills next.

“That game's about as big as they come,” Brozeski said. “But win or lose, our season is not over. Penn Hills is a very athletic team. They're long and fast, and their intensity is impeccable.”

Norwin won the first game against Penn-Trafford, 53-35.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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