With talent, experience, Norwin girls aim to be among WPIAL’s top contenders in Class 6A

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Friday, November 24, 2023 | 1:08 PM


With four starters and a number of key reserves back from a WPIAL and PIAA semifinal team, Norwin girls basketball is aging well.

Aging like a fine … well, let the coach tell you.

“You have different collections every year,” coach Brian Brozeski said. “The feels are always different. It’s like wine, what makes it better? Is it the grapes or is it the recipe?”

Norwin, which finished 24-5 last year, has potential that rivals its WPIAL championships teams of 2015 and ‘16, but Brozeski thinks the Knights may take some time to hit their stride, despite the talent and depth.

The talent is in place for Norwin to be one of the best teams in Class 6A. But don’t raise a glass just yet.

“We’re far from where we need to be,” he said. “The girls are nowhere near where their potential can be. But if they come in and don’t think they have to work hard, they’re mistaken. If you put yourself ahead of the team, you’re leaving the team behind.

“We’re going to find out who can play, which groups of five will go for us. Things happen. Injuries can occur, there’s foul trouble, maybe someone gets sick at some point. You have to be prepared for those kinds of things.”

The core four are seniors Bailey Snowberger, Lauren Palangio and Ava Kobus, along with junior Kendall Berger.

Norwin only lost three seniors to graduation.

Berger (5 foot 9) had a breakthrough season as she averaged 13.2 points as a two guard.

The 6-foot-1 Palangio, a Division II Holy Family commit, averaged 11.9 points and 7.9 rebounds.

Six-footer Kobus, an Allegheny basketball commit, was a streaky 3-point shooter who often sparked scoring runs, while Snowberger, a Holy Cross softball commit, held it all together.

Norwin’s full potential could lie in the size and durability of its bench. Brozeski likes to play 8-10 girls, even in big games.

“Every game is different,” Brozeski said. “Matchups can often dictate what we do. Sometimes, we might be guard oriented or have to go bigger. This is a critical time for us to start finding out what we have. We’re working on a lot of stuff right now, not trying to master one thing. We’re not rubbing a crystal ball right now.”

Juniors Avery Brozeski (G/F) and Bella Furno (G) and sophomore Ava Christopher (G) all saw time in the postseason and will assume key roles again.

Norwin also will look to 5-8 sophomore guard Anna Fraser, sophomore guard Alexa Kobus and freshman guard Elizabeth Yarosik to provide minutes.

Yarosik is the niece of former Norwin guard and Penn-Trafford head boys coach Ryan Yarosik.

Senior guard Kendall Williams is recovering from a torn ACL and is eyeing a March return.

Defense has been a calling card for Brozeski-led teams. Last season, the Knights allowed just 33.9 points, the lowest average in 6A. They held opponents to 40 points or less 19 times.

Norwin lost to rival North Allegheny in the WPIAL semifinals 38-36, and was bounced from the PIAA tournament by Cedar Cliff, 55-47.

Norwin will open the season Dec. 1 against West Virginia Class A state champion Cameron County at Wheeling Park.

A pair of new assistants joined the staff in Abi Gabauer, a Norwin alum and former TribLive Westmoreland player of the year, and Dana Mohney, who played at Elizabeth Forward.

Norwin girls basketball at a glance

Last year’s record: 24-5 (9-1 Section 1-6A)

Returning starters: Kendall Berger (Jr., G), Ava Kobus (Sr., G), Lauren Palangio (Sr., F), Bailey Snowberger (Sr., PG)

Top newcomers: Avery Brozeski (Jr., G/F), Ava Christopher (So., G), Anna Fraser (So., G), Bella Furno (Jr., G), Alexa Kobus (So., G), Elizabeth Yarosik (Fr., G)

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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