New section has Norwin girls basketball heading north
Norwin girls basketball coach Brian Brozeski has some extra work to do as he prepares his team for the upcoming season.
Not only is he putting together his team, he’s also preparing to face new section opponents.
When the WPIAL basketball committee was setting new sections in Class 6A for the next two seasons, they divided them into two eight-team divisions.
Norwin and its fans better get the Turnpike’s EZ-Pass because the Knights’ section games are all north of the City of Pittsburgh, or north of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. The Pennsylvania Turnpike will be their quickest route.
The Knights’ closest section game will be Fox Chapel. The other six teams in the Section 1-6A are Butler, North Allegheny, North Hills, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and Shaler.
Norwin had three losses by a point in 2017-18 and three more by less than five points.
The Knights claimed the Section 2 championship with an 8-2 record and finished 12-10, but winning the new section will be a challenge.
“I could go down every roster and pick the top players from each roster,” Brozeski said. “There are a lot of quality teams with skilled players and coaches that know how to exploit your weaknesses. You can’t just waltz into a game and have an off day against anyone.”
Brozeski’s biggest job is replacing guard Meagan Polczynski and forward Lacy Race.
The Knights are talented and have three starters are back — senior guard Jessica Kolesar, junior point guard Jayla Wehner and junior forward Olivia Gribble. With that trio returning, they could become a top contender.
Because of injuries, Brozeski doesn’t know who will be ready for the first game Dec. 7 against Altoona at the North Allegheny tournament.
One player expected to start is his niece, senior forward Emily Brozeski. The other candidates include senior forward Abby Best, junior forward Jacklyn Caputo, junior forward Cassie Cole and sophomore forward MacKenzie Yaniga.
“There is a lot of playing opportunities available,” coach Brozeski said. “We’re still looking for the right pieces and combinations. There is a lot of healthy competition.”
Wehner is one of the keys. Brozeski likes how she runs the offense and gets the ball in the right hands. She’s also capable of being the team’s top scorer.
Brozeski said he expects to use a deep rotation, and a lot of girls will contribute.
“We’re going to be very competitive,” Brozeski said. “That competition in practice will make us better as a team.”
Preparing for the new section won’t be too much of a challenge for the Knights. Norwin has previously played against many of the teams, including North Allegheny, Butler, Pine-Richland and Fox Chapel.
Brozeski just has to study a little harder for the ones that are new.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at [email protected]
or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.