Hot perimeter shooting leads Penn-Trafford boys past Norwin in Section 3-6A

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 | 10:12 PM

The Penn-Trafford boys basketball team came out firing in the first half of its final Section 3-6A contest of the season, draining eight 3-point shots en route to a 59-47 victory over rival Norwin.

The Warriors shot 53 percent from behind the art in the first half and built a 37-26 halftime lead.

From there, Penn-Trafford (12-8, 6-4) cruised in the second half behind double-digit scoring efforts from Zach Rocco, Kevin Stinelli and Chris Abreu to defeat the Knights (8-11, 1-9).

“Ball movement and player movement is so critical because it all comes back to positioning in space. Proper positioning and spacing leads to good drives and open shots and solid post feeds,” Penn-Trafford coach Jim Rocco said.

“I think we’re doing that well right now, and it gives the guys opportunities to make 3s. We did a good job of that tonight. We passed the ball well and hit those deep shots at timely moments. Plus, it doesn’t hurt when you have good players.”

Stinelli and Rocco, who finished with 14 and 15 points, respectively, set the tone as the Warriors’ primary ball-handlers against Norwin’s man-to-man defense. Both Stinelli and Rocco each hit three 3-pointers, as well.

In addition to helping the team shoot 10 for 19 from 3-point range, the constant motion of the Penn-Trafford offense also helped free up shots in the lane for Abreu, who tallied 10 points.

On defense, the Warriors limited Norwin to just 21 second-half points during the Knights’ comeback effort. The presence of Brayden Puskar loomed large in the paint as he led all players with 14 rebounds and managed to keep his Norwin counterparts in check.

“We pressured the ball pretty well and created a little tempo off of that. The glaring thing was our ability to contest shots, especially in the fourth quarter,” Rocco said.

“We were able to limit them to one shot pretty often. We rebounded well and played tough in the paint. Brayden really led the charge there. It’s great to have a bear under the hoop. And we got ourselves a bear.”

For Norwin, Tyler Bilinsky led all scorers with a 21-point effort, but the Knights couldn’t make up the first-half deficit.

Still, Norwin coach Lynn Washowich said he was proud of his players’ effort and is looking forward to seeing them finish the season strong with just two games remaining.

“We talk about being competitors and trying to win basketball games. It’s pride. That’s what it comes down to,” Washowich said.

“We were already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but that’s not going to stop us from showing up. We’re showing up, we’re here, so we might as well put it all out there and do everything we can to win these last few games.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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