Surging Norwin girls basketball team finds right balance

Friday, January 24, 2020 | 5:27 PM

The Norwin girls basketball team was the top scoring offense in WPIAL Class 6A through 14 games, and the Knights ranked second in scoring average against.

For coach Brian Brozeski, attitude is the reason for Norwin’s success.

Sets and strategy are important, too, but what has stood out to Brozeski is how his deep, talented team takes on responsibilities and encourages each other to find the right balance on the floor.

“We’ve been averaging getting in eight or nine girls in every game. It all depends on the tempo of the game and matchups at that given time,” Brozeski said. “I’m very pleased with how the girls have bought into their roles and how they can contribute depending on the matchup that’s on the table.

“One thing that I’ve been pointing out to the girls that I’ve been really proud of them with is how well they have been supporting each other on the bench. It’s great to see it on film and even during the game hearing the support of each other on the bench and hearing the communication going on.”

The Knights (12-2, 9-0) averaged 63.8 points and allowed 40 points per game. Through 14 games, Norwin scored more than 60 points eight times, the same number of times it allowed under 40 points. That dominance put the Knights in strong position for a Section 1-6A title.

Norwin’s stingy defense has fueled fast-break points all season.

“A good defense feeds into a good offense. If you get steals or deep rebounds, it can turn into easy points on the opposite side,” Brozeski said. “It’s basically a reward system for the girls. They know if they bust their tail on defense, there’s a good chance they’re going to be rewarded with a good look on the offensive side.”

As the calendar turns to February, the expectation for Norwin is the intensity from opponents will ramp up.

That started Friday with Seneca Valley, a team the Knights beat 65-59 in a Dec. 19 meeting.

A rematch with North Allegheny followed Tuesday. Norwin topped the Tigers 63-55 on Jan. 2.

Both games ended after deadline for this edition.

In the late-season section matchups and beyond, Norwin will rely on the leadership and experience of seniors Jayla Wehner and Olivia Gribble.

“They’ve been through the pressures that come in big-time games,” Brozeski said. “That’s key for us to be able to pull upon that experience. We’re going to get into games that are nip and tuck that bring that anxiety feeling with it. So, it’s nice having those girls with that experience and that ability to communicate and show that leadership, so we can build on that in future years as well.”

A major focus for the rest of the season is to continue improving. Norwin knows its success this season won’t mean much otherwise.

“We’re trying to embrace what we’ve done, but we can’t be satisfied with it either,” Brozeski said. “You have to stay hungry and have a willingness to get better. Once you get complacent and comfortable, all of the sudden, change happens and that change isn’t always for the better.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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