Westmoreland girls basketball notebook: Penn-Trafford looks for sweep of Norwin

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 | 5:26 PM

Penn-Trafford will try to do something it hasn’t done in six years — sweep Norwin — when the teams play for the second time this season Thursday night in North Huntingdon.

The rivals reunited in section play after two years apart when Penn-Trafford played up in Class 6A.

Penn-Trafford (9-2, 8-2 Section 1) has not won both section games against the Knights (9-2, 7-2) since the 2014-15 season, when the Warriors won Section 1-AAAA by two games over Norwin. The Knights, though, went on to win the WPIAL title that season.

When the teams played earlier this year at Penn-Trafford, freshman Olivia Pepple scored 19 points to lead the Warriors to a 50-46 win over then-No. 4 Norwin, which comes into this week’s rematch ranked No. 5.

Penn-Trafford also got 13 points from senior guard Allie Prady, who made 4 of 4 free throws in the fourth quarter, including two with 20.9 seconds left to make it 48-46.

Senior Danielle Rosso had 12 points to lead Norwin.

The frustrating loss led Norwin coach Brian Brozeski to say, “They took our heart away. They came out swinging, and we didn’t answer the bell.”

Penn-Trafford coach John Giannikas said, “We knew it was going to be like a boxing match. Everything was earned.”

The coaches anticipate another typical clash.

In the clutch

Penn-Trafford and Norwin had buzzer-beating shots from underclass girls to win games last week.

Pepple connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Warriors to a 50-49 Section 1-6A victory over Pine-Richland.

Sophomore Savannah Schneck banked in a shot from just inside the 3-point line near the top of the key to give Norwin a 51-49 victory over Class 3A No. 1 North Catholic.

Defense doesn’t rest

Norwin is allowing 34.5 points per game, and Penn-Trafford is giving up 38.9. Norwin’s defensive average is the best in Class 6A.

A few other Westmoreland teams also have been keeping teams at or around 40 points: Southmoreland (31.0), Greensburg Central Catholic (32.6), Monessen (35.1), Yough (37.3), Belle Vernon (37.6), Greensburg Salem (40.3), and Latrobe (40.7).

A head-turning score Monday saw Class 6A Hempfield get past 4A Yough, 37-29.

Carrying the load

Derry junior guard Tiana Moracco is one of the top scorers in the area and, by far, the top scorer on her team.

She is putting up the majority of Derry’s points.

In six games this season, Derry has scored 222 points (37 ppg). Moracco has 128 of them (21.3 ppg). She had 16 of the Trojans’ 21 in one game, 18 of 26 in another, and 17 of 27 and 24 of 37 on other occasions.

Polczynski commits

Norwin senior guard Mara Polczynski will play her college basketball at Grove City. The Wolverines have two area players on the roster this season: junior forward Allison Podkul (Hempfield) and sophomore guard Megan Kallock (Greensburg Salem).

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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