Norwin boys basketball grinds out victory against Yough

Saturday, December 10, 2022 | 8:19 PM

There weren’t any slam dunks, and fast breaks were at a minimum.

But Norwin isn’t judging wins on looks these days.

Save your flash and frills. The Knights are 4-0.

“We’ll take it,” coach Lance Maha said. “We’re happy to get a win against a good, athletic team like that.”

Behind another secure defensive effort and structured offensive play, the Knights stayed perfect with a 48-40 victory over undermanned Yough in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Boys Basketball Showcase on Saturday night at Jeannette.

The Knights finally took control after a see-saw first half that had nine lead changes and three ties, going ahead 21-19 at halftime after a 3-pointer from Justin Weaver.

Norwin took a liking to Jeannette’s rims. The proof of a good shooting night came in the final numbers: The Knights made nine 3-pointers and seven 2-pointers. In other words, 56% of their offense came from behind the 3-point line.

“We like to shoot it,” Maha said. “Their big man (Austin Matthews) impacted what we wanted to as far as getting to the rim, but we made some shots. I would have liked to see us push the ball up the floor more, but I am pleased with how we played.”

Yough (3-2), which has back-to-back losses after a 3-0 start, played without starting guard Parker Rost, who was serving a two-game suspension for getting ejected against South Park.

Deer Lakes beat Yough, 60-43, on Friday night.

“Both teams defended really well,” Yough coach Jim Nesser said. “We played Friday night and we had some depth issues today for sure, but I thought our kids played hard. No excuses; I thought we had a winning effort. Norwin is a good team.”

Key reserve Brendon Converso also did not play for Yough (illness).

Norwin also had two players missing with injuries in senior center Mike Mihalov and his backup, junior forward Luke Denny.

The teams’ best players did not disappoint in their head-to-head matchup, although it was rare for them to go one-on-one. Norwin senior Adam Bilinsky scored 17, 11 in the first half, and junior Terek Crosby finished with a game-high 20 for Yough.

Neither of the high-flying guards had a dunk, but both were effective from the perimeter.

“A win against a high-level team like that is always great,” Bilinsky said.

Weaver hit another 3 just out of the break, but Bilinsky answered with a strong drive to the basket.

Ryan Edwards hit a 3, Tyler Travillion answered with a 3 for Yough, but senior Collin Gunzburger got hot and connected for two of his three 3s to push the lead to 36-25 with 1 minute, 30 seconds left in the third.

Bilinsky kicked it out to Gunzburger, who extended the advantage to double figures.

“We needed (Gunzburger) to make some shots,” Maha said. “We need guys other than Adam, Ryan and Justin to make shots.”

In the fourth, Weaver knocked down his third 3, and key reserve Jackson Pons, a junior forward, buried a 3 from the wing to make it 43-34 with 3:22 remaining.

Yough could only get to within six the rest of the way.

“We didn’t want to give up anything in transition,” Maha said. “I think for the most part we did a good job of that.”

Matthews and Travillion each finished with eight points.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at

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