Westmoreland High School Athletes of the Week: Week ending Jan. 7, 2023

Saturday, January 7, 2023 | 10:45 PM

Lauren Palangio

School: Norwin

Sport: Basketball

Class: Junior

Claim to fame: A 6-foot-1 center, Palangio has helped Norwin to a 10-1 record, the No. 1 ranking in WPIAL Class 6A, and the No. 4 ranking in the state. She had 16 points and seven rebounds in a 56-32 win over Butler. Before that, she had 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 53-32 victory over rival North Allegheny.

For the season, she is averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds a game.

Does being ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL and No. 4 in the state matter to you and your teammates?

Being ranked both in the WPIAL and the state definitely feels good to my teammates and I, but we also know that this is just the beginning of everything and that we have a lot of work to do to stay there. Being ranked where we are is nice, and now we have something to work for as a goal, so we are in the same place at the end of the season.

Why do you wear No. 33?

I’ve worn number 35 for as long as I can remember and it is my current AAU number, but my freshman year of high school basketball, I decided to make my number 33. I just liked the idea of the double 3s. It felt like good luck, so I chose it. I had a good first year of high school basketball with the number 33, so I decided to stick with it as a good luck number.

Who is your favorite all-time player at Norwin?

Magen and Mara Polczynski are probably my all-time favorite Norwin players. I never got to play with Magen during high school, but I always looked up to how she played and as I got older I played with her outside of just high school basketball. Mara, on the other hand, I got to play with my freshman year and she was a very big role model to me as a freshman playing varsity. She helped me gain confidence all throughout my freshmen year and was a great teammate.

Who is your favorite pro athlete and team?

I don’t watch a lot of pro sports, but I do follow college sports, especially women’s basketball. My favorite college player is probably Cameron Brink from Stanford. I love watching her play and I look up to her. She is a good example of how I want to be able to play one day. I also really like to follow her team , so I would probably say that Stanford is also my favorite college team to watch.

Have you been following the Damar Hamlin story?

Yes I have. I was actually watching the game when it happened. It is such a crazy story because injuries that serious barely ever happen. I just remember being so shocked and not knowing exactly what happened. I have been following the story, though and am glad to see that he is improving and is awake now.

What sport are you secretly good at?

I am secretly good at spikeball and volleyball. I only play spikeball over the summer for fun, but I figured out this summer that I am surprisingly good at it. I do play high school volleyball, but because of high school basketball I can’t play club.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I am actually surprisingly good at axe-throwing. I decided to do it for my birthday party a couple years ago as something new and I actually ended up being pretty good at it. I’ve continued to go since that birthday party as a fun activity I show to my friends. I didn’t expect to be good at it at all, but surprisingly I was just naturally good at it.

Do you see yourself as a true post player?

My whole basketball career I have been the post player on all of my teams, so I have been practicing and working as a post player my whole life. Although I do see myself as a true post player, I like to work on my guard skills too to try and improve and become a better, more well-rounded player. I like to try and be as versatile as possible, but I do take pride in being a true post player.

When is your height an advantage outside of basketball?

I can always reach the top shelf pretty much everywhere and I always get asked if I model. There are some disadvantages like clothes not always fitting, but there are definitely more advantages than disadvantages.

What makes this Norwin team so good?

I think what makes our team so good is the overall team chemistry between everyone. We all love spending time with each other and getting to practice and get better together every day. We have great communication on and off the court which allows us to be able to talk about anything even with the coaches. We are all super open and honest with everyone and are willing to work and get better for each other everyday. I think this is what helps us to be so good because we all play for each other. We want what is best for each other and the team which pays dividends for us on the court.

Do you like Norwin’s new gym floor?

I actually really like our new gym floor. It makes the gym feel so much more bright and open. It’s just different from the last floor, especially since we changed our colors a little, so I like the change it adds to the gym.

Any good luck charms or superstitions?

I am actually a very superstitious person. There are a lot of things that I have to do on game days because they are good luck to me. I have specific socks and spandex I wear for home and away games that I have to always wear. I also have specific food I eat before every game. I tend to always wear my hair in a ponytail for games because I think it is good luck. I have a lot of superstitions, but those ones are my favorite.

People might be surprised to know that _____?

I am actually a pretty good student and that I was a very good gymnast when I was younger. I did gymnastics for about 10 years when I was younger, but decided to quit to play basketball.

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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