Westmoreland girls basketball notebook: Norwin fine-tunes as postseason approaches

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | 4:23 PM

Norwin plans to be in the thick of the WPIAL Class 6A chase when the playoffs begin later this month. Based on program tradition, it would be unusual if the Lady Knights were not.

But coach Brian Brozeski thinks some fine-tuning needs done to get his girls ready for March Madness.

At the halfway point of the season, Brozeski said his team is “trending in a positive direction but still need to find consistency for four quarters of play.”

Norwin (6-2, 5-2) sat in a three-way tie for second place in Section 1-6A at the start of the week. The Lady Knights climbed back into the TribLive HSSN Class 6A rankings, taking the No. 5 spot behind top-ranked North Allegheny, Upper St. Clair (2), Mt. Lebanon (3), and Bethel Park (4).

Norwin is allowing just 35 points per game but has not been overly productive offensively. The Knights have scored less than 50 points four times.

The fix might be basic.

“I love the effort we have seen in both practices and games,” Brozeski said. “We just need to continue to sharpen some of the fundamental and mental aspects of our game.”

An open-door policy in the program keeps fresh input flowing. The focus keeps circling back to the little things.

“This has been a group that is willing to share insights into schemes as well as provide feedback to other players on adjustments,” Brozeski said. “Our area of focus for the second half of the season is cliche but true — improve on the fundamentals. Whether it is defensively or offensively, whether it is turning the ball over or getting beat to the rim, most of our errors stem from not being fundamental.”

Norwin resumes section play Thursday night at Seneca Valley after Monday’s game against North Hills was postponed because of snow.

Playoff deadline

The WPIAL is giving teams until 3 p.m. Feb. 18 to opt in for the open basketball playoffs. All teams are eligible to participate.

Teams must come to terms on varying face mask policies in order to play in the postseason.

The WPIAL steering committee will meet Feb. 23 to seed the tournaments. The opening games could be as early as Feb. 27.

Only the 12 WPIAL champions will advance to the PIAA playoffs.

Power of three

Penn-Trafford didn’t get a lot of scoring from its rotation Tuesday, but the Warriors didn’t need it. Only three players scored but that did not stop Penn-Trafford from winning a thriller at home. Freshman Olivia Pepple connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Warriors to a 50-49 Section 1-6A victory over Pine-Richland.

Senior Allie Prady scored a game-high 23 points, and Pepple finished with 18 for the Warriors, who called a timeout after Pine-Richland scored to go ahead 49-47 with 11.5 seconds left.

After another timeout, with 6.7, the Warriors got the ball to Pepple in the corner and she finished.

Junior Maura Suman had nine points to cap the scoring.

Game to watch

Teams aren’t getting an abundance of opportunities to play nonsection games with section play taking precedence in a sprint of season, but one nonsection game next week is worth a look.

On Wednesday, Class 4A No. 4 Southmoreland, the returning WPIAL runner-up, hosts one of the better teams in Class 5A, Latrobe.

A potential one-on-one matchup to watch will be Southmoreland’s 5-11 junior forward Gracie Spadaro, the 2019-20 Trib Westmoreland Player of the Year, going against Latrobe junior 6-2 forward Anna Rafferty.

Hempfield returns

Hempfield will come back from a 10-day covid-19 closure Thursday night when the Lady Spartans (0-1) host Canon-McMillan (1-5, 1-3), the only team they have played so far. Canon-McMillan edged Hempfield, 37-36, on Jan. 11 in a Section 2-6A game.

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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