Norwin girls shut down Central Dauphin in state tournament

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Friday, March 10, 2023 | 8:52 PM


HARRISBURG — Brian Brozeski knew where Norwin would have to succeed to win in the PIAA Class 6A girls basketball playoffs.

“When you get to the playoffs, defense is where you can hang your hat,” Brozeski said after his Knights team hung an entire wardrobe on its defense in a 34-19 win at Central Dauphin in Friday night’s opening round.

Norwin will play Lebanon, a 48-41 winner over Haverford, in Tuesday’s second round at a site and time to be announced.

The Knights (22-4) held the Rams (20-6) without a field goal in the last 11 minutes of the game and forced more turnovers (10) than field goals they allowed (eight).

The key was picking up the defense on Central Dauphin point guard Lauren Cavoli, the Rams’ No. 2 scorer, from the opening tip. At various times in the game, Bailey Snowberger, Ava Christopher and Ava Kobus guarded Cavoli, and Norwin held her to no points and two field-goal attempts. This left the rest of the Rams’ offense off balance.

Norwin also made sure Central Dauphin had few second-chance opportunities, outrebounding the host 34-23.

“One of our biggest goals was to stay physical inside and win the rebounding battle,” said Lauren Palangio, who led the Knights with nine boards.

On offense, Norwin started to build a lead in the middle of the second period with an 11-0 run.

Kate Botti started the surge with a 3-point shot that put the Knights up 12-6 with 5 minutes, 50 seconds left in the second period. The rest of the run included another trey by Kobus and a steal, score and free throw by Kendall Berger.

Central Dauphin opened the third quarter down 21-10 but made a defensive stand of its own with a 2-3 defense that Norwin had difficulty shooting over for a while. Two baskets by Alexis Ferguson pulled the Rams within 21-14 midway through the period. But a 3-point field goal by Savannah Schneck ended an eight-minute drought from the floor to reestablish a double-digit lead.

Kenedy Cooper made Central Dauphin’s only trey on the next possession, but the Rams never pulled closer than seven points in the second half. Christopher’s 3-point basket with 50 seconds left in the third made it 27-17 entering the fourth period, and the Knights led by double digits the rest of the way.

Christopher’s second 3-point shot, with 4:27 left in regulation, essentially ended the contest, putting the Knights up 32-17.

Christopher led all players with 10 points. Palangio added eight.

Ferguson paced Central Dauphin with eight points.

The Knights were able to gameplan for the Rams without sending any scouts along the three-hour trip between the schools before Friday’s game.

“We were able to get some insights from scouring the internet,” Brozeski said. “We used to have to send scouts, but now we can get some info on (state playoff opponents) on the computer.”

Norwin finished with 11 turnovers and was 6 for 13 from the free-throw line.

Central Dauphin was 2 for 4 from the stripe.

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