Norwin notebook: Adam Bilinsky bids farewell in boys basketball playoff loss

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Sunday, March 5, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Basketball season ended in the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals for the Norwin boys.

The Knights had to face the No. 1 seed in their playoff opener and, although they played with host New Castle for much of the contest, they dropped a 59-47 decision.

Norwin ends the season at 14-9 after its third straight playoff season. The WPIAL only sends three teams to the PIAA postseason.

Star senior Adam Bilinsky scored the first 10 points for Norwin in the loss and finished with a game-high 24 in his final WPIAL game before he heads to Mercyhurst.

“He’s one of the best we’ve faced in my time here,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said of Bilinsky, who scored 1,045 career points. “Not many guys can make the number of contested shots he made. I felt like we defended him well.

“He scored just about any way that you can score. That’s what great players do. There’s not many high school kids getting Division II scholarships right now, and he has one. That tells you everything you need to know.”

Ryan Edwards added 13 for the Knights, who will part ways with 12 seniors, including Justin Weaver, Noah Vogel, and Collin Gunzburger.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Norwin second-year coach Lance Maha said. “We stayed with our defensive game plan. We gave them a pretty good run. They’re a good team. We’re trying to build something that will be sustaining.

“All of (seniors) at different times during the year started a game and really helped us. They’re just really good kids. We’re going to miss them. But, hopefully, our young guys got a little sense of the atmosphere and that gets them to get into the weight room and work on their game for next year.”

Laukus runner-up

Norwin’s Ashley Laukus brought home a silver medal from the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Championships at Penn State.

Laukus posted a distance of 5 feet, 4 inches to take second in the high jump.

Knights build momentum

With six straight wins to close out the regular season, the Norwin hockey team looked primed to make a run at a second consecutive PIHL Class A title.

The Knights capped the regular season with a 6-5 win over Shaler in overtime.

Alex Thomas netted the game-winner at the 1:50 mark of overtime. He finished with three goals and three assists, while Cade Zeravica had a goal and two assists, and Logan Robb added a pair of assists.

Owen Burmeister made 25 saves.

Norwin had 60 shots to Shaler’s 30.

Brozeski wins gold

Duquesne junior Emily Brozeski didn’t just show up to compete at the Atlantic 10 Conference championships. She came to win.

Brozeski, a Norwin grad, scored a season-best 3,639 points to capture the pentathlon title at the conference meet at the Mackal Fieldhouse in Kingston, R.I.

Zajicek making mark

When Brianna Zajicek left Norwin, she thought she had her college basketball future mapped out.

But a coaching change prompted her to reroute her plans.

She arrived at Illinois-Springfield and is proud to call that school home these days.

Zajicek was leading all freshmen in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in scoring at 12.4 points per game.

She had four, 20-plus games and reached double figures 18 times for the Prairie Stars (4-23, 4-15).

Zajicek, a 5-foot-11 guard, had 22 points against Drury, which was ranked No. 2 in Division II as last week.

College scene

Updates on Norwin graduates playing in college:

Women’s basketball

Chatham: The Cougars pulled a stunner in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference semifinals as they knocked off No. 1 seed Washington & Jefferson, on the road, 57-40. Freshman Alyssa Laukus played a key role in the victory, collecting 12 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Laukus has played in 25 games, starting 21 of them, and is averaging 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds over 23.5 minutes a game. Chatham fell to Saint Vincent in the PAC championship, 68-52, as Laukus scored 15 and added four rebounds.

Marian: Junior Jayla Wehner had nine points and three assists in 24 minutes to help Marian to an 87-74 victory against Mt. Vernon Nazarene. Marian improved to 25-4 on the season.

Men’s volleyball

Thiel: Sophomore JC Govannucci posted 10 kills to power the Tomcats past Hiram, 3-0.

Men’s indoor track

High Point: Junior Jack Tarosky helped the distance medley relay to a runner-up finish at the Big South Championships. Tarosky also took sixth in the mile.

Women’s volleyball

Waynesburg: Sophomore Jordan Stein led the Yellowjackets during the fall season with 447 digs. She will be a team captain next season.

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

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