Norwin notebook: Wrestling team wins late-season tournament
Saturday, February 19, 2022 | 11:01 AM
The WPIAL team wrestling championship had already been decided, but that didn’t stop Norwin from beating up on opponents.
The Knights won the Derry Duals on Feb. 12 in impressive fashion.
They went 5-0 to take the title, defeating Meadville (47-19), Franklin Regional (46-22), Trinity (36-33), Derry (52-17) and Frazier (70-6).
Brianna Zajicek moved to point guard this season, so she has a different perspective on the game and new decisions to make.
As she dribbled up the floor on Feb. 10 at Penn-Trafford with the third-quarter clock ticking down to single digits, she made some magic happen.
“I was trying to advance the ball as far as I could in four seconds or look for a passing opportunity to one of my teammates ahead,” the senior said. “But everyone was covered, and Maura (Suman) was right on me playing defense.”
Instead, Bri made an incredible 3.
About 20 feet from the halfcourt line, just over the opposing 3-point line, she reared back like she was going to chuck a football deep and launched.
Now the quarterback of the offense, Zajicek conjured some Jack Salopek arm strength and delivered from nearly 70 feet to beat the buzzer.
“I looked at the clock and saw about one second left so I thought that I might as well try and get a shot off,” she said. “Lucky enough, it went in. I have never practiced a shot like that one, but I do practice throwing long stretch passes, so that helped.”
The impressive heave gave Norwin a 34-21 cushion heading to the fourth, but Penn-Trafford found its rhythm on both ends of the floor and rallied for a 37-36 win in a matchup of Section 1-6A playoff teams.
Norwin (15-5) earned the No. 4 seed in the Class 6A playoff bracket and was set to host No. 5 Bethel Park (10-9) 7 p.m. Feb. 23 in the quarterfinals.
Zajicek, an Alderson Broaddus commit, is rounding out her backcourt skills as she builds toward college.
Her halfcourt skills aren’t bad, either.
“When the ball left my hand, I didn’t think it was going in,” she said. “To me, it looked like it was going to be short of the hoop. But when it went in, I was surprised, and it was a really cool feeling.”
The teams and fans were stunned when the shot went down.
“What a shot,” Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said. “This game had a little of everything. Back-and-forth play, good defense, 75-foot shots. People got their money’s worth tonight.”
The swimming pool at Norwin is undergoing a renovation project, so the boys and girls teams have been practicing at East Allegheny, and all of their meets have been on the road.
The project originally was going to be finished in October but likely will stretch into March, said Norwin athletic director Mike Burrell.
“Despite not having a pool, we have had some really good swims this year,” Norwin coach Doug Watson said. “I am proud these kids continue to fight through all the difficulties.”
Checking in on Norwin graduates playing at the college level:
Thiel: Sophomore Frank Gill finished second in the 157-pound bracket at the PAC Championships. The Tomcats won the team title.
Thiel: Freshman JC Govanucci had nine kills to lead the Tomcats but St. John Fisher won 3-0 in the Fisher Invite.
Men’s indoor track and field
Washington & Jefferson: Freshman Hayden O’Bryon took sixth in the triple jump with a mark of 12.09 meters at the Baldwin Wallace Mid-February Meet.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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