Norwin girls defeat Hempfield in Shootout at Seton Hill
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 6:40 PM
Norwin plans to play in front of big crowds and in potentially foreign gyms with large courts as a season of high expectations continues toward the WPIAL and PIAA postseason.
So playing in the Shootout at Seton Hill came with its advantages.
Norwin got more out of the event than a victory.
The Lady Knights scored in bunches of threes — on long-range shots and the traditional way — to take down Hempfield, 67-35, on Sunday afternoon on the wide college floor at Seton Hill’s McKenna Center.
It was the second game of six in the day-long event.
“It takes you out of your comfort zone a little bit,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “You have to adjust to the double (3-point) lines and different setups, and the (depth change) of the hoops. We know we’ll see different settings later in the season.”
The larger floor and more space behind the baskets didn’t bother Norwin senior Olivia Gribble, who made five 3-pointers and scored a game-high 23 points for the Knights (14-2), who are ranked No. 2 in WPIAL Class 6A.
Several Norwin players were fouled on layups and converted free throws for and-1s.
Senior guard Jayla Wehner added 13 points and hit a pair of 3s.
“This was a nice 6A win for us,” Gribble said. “It helps our confidence. It was a great atmosphere with some nice openess with the environment.”
The game was bittersweet for Hempfield (7-9), which saw senior guard Sarah Liberatore score her 1,000th career point on a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. Liberatore needed 22 points and hit the number on the dot.
Norwin raced to a 17-7 lead after the first quarter and was ahead 25-14 by the half. Defensive pressure fueled the quick start.
“Norwin is a really good team,” Hempfield coach Tom Brush said. “I think they are the toughest team that we have played. We had far too many turnovers and did not do a good job boxing out. Those are things you can’t do against a team like Norwin.”
Danielle Rosso added 11 points for Norwin.
Liberatore beat the first-quarter buzzer with a 3 and scored 10 in the fourth.
“Sarah is a great girl who works extremely hard,” Brush said. “I am glad her hard work has paid off.”
Despite Norwin and Hempfield playing in different sections, Brozeski knew Liberatore could be a handful to guard.
“Defensively, we focused on (stopping) what they like to do,” Brozeski said. “Sarah is such an amazing player. We just wanted to mimimize her the best we could.”
Wehner scored eight straight points in the third to push the lead to 39-16, and Gribble’s three made it 42-18.
“It’s nice to have that option (with Gribble),” Brozeski said.
As for the and-1s, “It’s like football,” Brozeski said. “You practice blocking and tackling, but you don’t go too hard. We did a nice job playing through contact.”
Hempfield trailed by 30 in the fourth and couldn’t trim the margin closer than 26 down the stretch.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
More Basketball• If PIAA shuts down, AAU teams, other private programs could flourish
• Central Catholic basketball transfer Langston Moses eligible for regular season, WPIAL says
• With allegations behind him, Nick Lackovich returns as Aliquippa boys basketball coach
• 2 WPIAL rising sophomores add basketball offers from Minnesota
• 2 WPIAL sophomores announce basketball offers from Marshall