Peters Township girls top Norwin in PIAA basketball quarterfinals

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Friday, March 15, 2019 | 10:19 PM


Norwin knew if it had a chance against Peters Township, the game would have to resemble a 12-round heavyweight fight. The Knights would have to trade punches with the unbeaten Indians and be able to go back and forth.

Norwin got a few uppercuts in late, but Peters Township ultimately landed a third-round knockout, a 64-47 victory in the PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals Friday night at Keystone Oaks.

The Indians (28-0) advance to play Upper Dublin (25-4) on Monday in the semifinals. Their pursuit of perfection continues.

“In the beginning, we wanted to try to take away their perimeter shooters,” Peters Township coach Bert Kendall said. “That’s how they make some runs. We’re still improving, and I still think we can play better.”

Norwin (23-3), plagued by an uncharacteristically sluggish first half, was looking to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2015.

A much better second half — 39 points compared to eight — softened the blow a bit.

“Our girls put their best foot forward in the second half, and I was proud of how they didn’t give up,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “We just dug ourselves too much of a hole.”

About that Indians streak: Just like their starters’ jersey numbers (20 through 24), the wins remained consecutive.

“We just worry about the next game,” Kendall said. “We don’t talk about that. Just play and execute, and that gives us our best chance.”

First-time WPIAL-champion Peters Township scored the game’s first 12 points and used its length to establish a size advantage from the tip.

Norwin grinded its gears early as it tried to overcome a scratchy start.

While the Indians did not take care of the basketball with a large lead, the Knights could not take advantage and fell behind 16-6 after the first quarter.

“They’re a great team,” Brozeski said. “(Makenna) Marisa is a special player, but she has quite a supporting cast.”

Marisa, a Penn State recruit, started to find her rhythm in the second quarter as the Indians stretched their advantage to 24-8.

The senior was the first player to double figures and finished with a game-high 20, nine in the third quarter as the Indians maintained momentum.

“We emphasized how important the start would be because Norwin is such a scrappy team,” Marisa said. “We had to box them out and rebound. We trust each other, and it doesn’t matter who is scoring for us.”

Freshman Journey Thompson added 16 points, sophomore Jordan Bisignani had 13 and senior Isabella Mills had 11 for the Indians.

The Knights had more turnovers (nine) than points (eight) in the first half and made just three field goals as they labored to put together offense.

Norwin opened the second half with better defensive pressure that keyed an 8-0 run. Junior Olivia Gribble’s 3-pointer, the Knights’ first of the game, cut it to 30-21.

But the Indians overcame seven turnovers in the quarter to take a 41-29 lead into the fourth.

“When we give up a basket, we have to run a play on the other end,” Kendall said.

Gribble hit from deep again to trim the deficit to nine again (41-32), but the Knights could get no closer.

Norwin hit four 3s in the fourth, two by sophomore Mara Polczynski, who finished with 10 points.

Junior Jayla Wehner led Norwin with 12, eight in the fourth, and senior Jess Kolesar finished with eight.

Peters Township made 20 of 24 free throws, including 13 of 15 in the fourth when the lead reached 64-45. Mills was 8 of 8 from the line in the fourth.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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