Westmoreland H.S. notebook: Norwin, GCC girls basketball primed for sustained success

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Saturday, March 25, 2023 | 4:11 PM


Norwin and Greensburg Central Catholic made thrilling runs to the girls basketball state semifinals, both finishing one win shy of a trip to Hershey for the finals.

With the talent the teams are expecting back, they could be in line for an extended postseason run next year.

Norwin fell to District 3 champion Cedar Cliff, 55-47, in overtime, in a 6A semifinal at Altoona.

It loses three seniors but returns four starters and several key reserves.

Coach Brian Brozeski wants to pump the brakes and let this season sink in.

“I don’t think it is fair or appropriate to this team, or to any other team in the state, to start predicting next season,” Brozeski said. “What I will remember most about this group is their team chemistry. Not only did their individual playing styles complement one another on the court, but the players genuinely enjoyed being around one another off of the court.”

Norwin finished 24-5 after reaching the WPIAL semifinals and winning three PIAA tournament games, clearing a lofty hurdle with a win over North Allegheny in the state semis.

The 24 wins are the most for the program since the ’15 team went 27-1.

Norwin hung its hat on defense, allowing just 34 points a game over 29 games.

Cedar Cliff scored more points against Norwin than any opponent had all year.

Brozeski has been around good teams, winning WPIAL championships in 2015 and ’16.

The ’15 Knights also made the state semis but lost to Cumberland Valley, 56-40, also at Altoona.

GCC, which fell to District 10 champion Kennedy Catholic, 56-44, in the 2A semis, finished 24-6. It loses two seniors in Cadie Peters and Kailyn Reusser. But four starters are set to return in juniors Mya Morgan, Avery Davis, and Cara Dupilka, along with fab freshman Erica Gribble.

The Centurions worked back through the consolation bracket after getting upset by Burgettstown in the 2A quarterfinals.

Coach Chris Skatell was asked if next season will be a disappointment if his team doesn’t make at least the state semis?

“No, I don’t think so,” Skatell said. “Like I said before, nothing is promised. You have to enjoy what is happening now. Our girls learned a lot by getting this far, and they will be better for it.

“They got bumped around a little bit and realized nothing is going to be easy. You have to be tough to make a state-playoff run.”

GCC’s 24 wins are the most by a Centurions team since 2007.

Recruiting

Penn-Trafford football player Zach Tomosovich added two more Division I scholarship offers, from Massachusetts and Maine.

UMass is an NCAA FBS program and plays as an independent.

Tomosovich is a 6-foot-5, 320-pound two-way tackle.

• Maine also offered Belle Vernon’s Braden Laux (6-4, 215), a quarterback and defensive end.

-Navy offered Norwin junior wide receiver and defensive back Jackson Pons.

• Brynn DeLattre of Hempfield signed to play lacrosse at West Virginia Wesleyan.

• Lineman Dean Crissman, of Greensburg Central Catholic, plans to play at Saint Vincent.

Mt. Pleasant senior swimmer Trinity Graft signed to continue her career at Kutztown.

Net gains

Two local players received recognition by the Western PA Volleyball Coaches Association.

Outside hitters Owen Kelly and Brad Heinbaugh were named Class 3A players of the week.

Kelly is a senior at Hempfield, and Heinbaugh in a junior at Penn-Trafford.

The Week 1 rankings from the association show Penn-Trafford and Norwin at Nos. 3 and 4 in 3A, with Hempfield at No. 8.

Latrobe is in a lofty spot, at No. 2 in 2A, while Derry is No. 7.

Title time

The Greensburg YMCA Aerial Gymnastics Team captured the Level 7 team title, and eight gymnasts won individual titles at the YMCA Western PA League Championships at Allegheny College.

The individuals are: Gemma Page, Manor — Level 3 Junior A, champion in uneven bar (9.00), floor exercise (9.40), all-around (36.50); Emma Rost, Greensburg — Level 4 Junior, champion in vault (9.15), floor (9.45); Sophia Demorest, Greensburg — Xcel Gold Senior, champion in floor (9.35); Alicia Willett, Greensburg — Level 5, champion in vault (8.80), uneven bars (7.20), floor (9.05), all-around (31.75); Caylee Kingerski, Greensburg — Level 5, champion in balance beam (7.70); Jayashree Badwe, Greensburg — Level 6 Senior, champion in balance beam (8.80); Emma Visnick, Export — Level 7, champion in balance beam (9.00); Sophia Kunkle, Export — Level 8, champion in vault (8.60), balance beam (8.60), all-around (33.60).

The girls qualified for the state competition April 15-16 at Westmoreland County Community College. The local Y’s Level 3 team finished third.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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