Opponents taking notice of Norwin’s ‘Waldo’ Fleming

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Saturday, January 15, 2022 | 11:01 AM


When Norwin basketball player Michael Fleming went off for 27 points and made five 3-pointers in a game at Penn-Trafford last season, he was introduced to the WPIAL basketball world.

Now, he is becoming a household name.

The senior guard leads the Knights in scoring and is a key piece to new coach Lance Maha’s system.

Fleming’s nickname is Waldo. If opponents want to beat Norwin, they have to know where he is.

It’s a requirement because Fleming, junior Adam Bilinsky and junior Ryan Edwards are all scoring options.

But Fleming gets it started. He was averaging 19 points through seven games.

“He’s just a good, smart kid,” Maha said. “He has hit some big shots for us early. He adjusts when he isn’t shooting well. He gets to the rim.”

When Norwin went shot-for-shot with Hempfield in the Section 3-6A opener — a fast-paced, 77-72 loss for the Knights — Fleming scored 22 points, including 16 in the second half and nine in the fourth quarter.

“We’re playing a lot faster,” Fleming said. “I have been able to shoot more 3-balls and I’ve gone more one-on-one with guys. It’s been a good start to the season.”

He scored 20 when the Knights took Mt. Lebanon to the brink before falling 55-53.

He had 19 in a 55-41 win over Obama Academy and was the high scorer again with 20 in a 69-30 win over Greensburg Salem that pulled the Knights within one game of .500 (4-5).

“We feel like we’re starting to understand each other’s roles,” Maha said. “Michael has been very good. A surprise, for sure. I saw him in the fall; this is how he scored in the fall. He is able to take what we tell him, leave a huddle or leave halftime and make a difference.”

Against Seneca Valley, Fleming also scored 16 points in the second half.

“Sometimes he settles a little bit,” Maha said. “When he starts to get to the rim, it opens other parts of his game.”

Norwin was 7-14 last season but was more than halfway to that total nine games into the campaign.

“We put ourselves in a position to win that game at the end, so we should be optimistic,” Maha said after the Hempfield loss. “Don’t be happy about losing the game but understand they have to play us again and we know we can play with them.

“I am pleased of the direction we’re going, but it’s an unforgiving league, so we have to be ready to play every Tuesday and Friday.”

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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