Norwin’s Brianna Zajicek sinks near 70-foot buzzer-beater

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Friday, February 11, 2022 | 3:39 PM


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 Thursday night 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 4 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.

Swish.

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 1 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 Section 1-6A.

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.”

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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