Norwin girls basketball team shows grit, chemistry

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | 7:14 PM


When Norwin lost promising junior Savannah Schneck to an ACL injury for the second straight year, the girls basketball team quickly regrouped. It had little choice in the matter, but it regrouped nonetheless.

The season was about to start, and the Knights began to shine a spotlight around to see who would fill in for the would-be contributor. Turns out, it wasn’t one player.

At Norwin, it takes a village.

A wave of girls are making significant contributions for the Knights, who are 9-4 (6-1 Section 1) and ranked No. 4 in WPIAL Class 6A as they prepare to open the second half of section play.

“The girls make sacrifices for the team, and they buy in,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “They get after it. When they see areas where we need to shape up, they’re willing to work on things and put in the time.”

It has become a group effort, but that concept isn’t anything new to Brozeski’s teams, which often run eight, nine or even 10 deep and spread the wealth.

It sometimes looks like Knights players were cloned in the same basketball factory. They hustle, play physical, share the ball and crash the boards.

Different leading scorers have emerged all season, from senior Brianna Zajicek to sophomore Lauren Palangio to seniors Alyssa Laukus, Chloe Lukondi and Maggie Race.

Laukus, who has rounded into form after missing time in the playoffs last year, said Norwin can throw a number of lineups at opponents.

“There are different looks,” she said. “We can be big or we can be quick. We play well together, and we have a lot of chemistry. No one girl tries to do too much.”

Norwin, which played well in spurts against Class 5A No. 1 Chartiers Valley, falling 59-43, still has to play Shaler and Pine-Richland before its much-anticipated rematch against No. 1 North Allegheny.

Norwin lost to the Tigers, 46-43, in the first meeting Jan. 3 in McCandless. The rematch is Jan. 27 at Norwin.

Norwin, which sits a half-game back of the Tigers in Section 1, was limiting teams to just 33 points, the best defensive average in 6A. A bizarre and nondescript 29-14 win over Penn-Trafford on Tuesday dropped that average by more than a point.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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