East Xtra: Norwin basketball has early formula for success
Curtis Perz has found his shot and has helped Norwin to a 6-2 start overall and 3-0 in Section 1-AAAA.
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Lynn Washowich believes there is a formula for his team to succeed.
The Norwin boys basketball coach feels if the Knights can hold their opponent to 55 points or less then they have a good chance to win.
"That's the goal every game," Washowich said. "We've been pretty good at it so far this season."
Norwin is 4-0 when it has met that goal and 2-2 when it hasn't. The Knights are 6-2 overall and 3-0 in Section 1-AAAA.
"I've been really pleased with our defense," Washowich said. "In our first eight games, I'd say we've only not played well defensively once. We didn't do a good job against Franklin Regional. Other than that, we've played really well on that end of the floor and that's our strength."
The game Washowich is referring to was a 61-46 loss to the Panthers in the championship game of the Franklin Regional tournament on Dec. 12.
While that might have been a bit of a clunker, Norwin's defense has been overwhelming at times. The Knights have held two teams to fewer than 30 points, beating Mount Pleasant, 43-26, on opening night and downing section foe Kiski Area, 37-28.
Norwin keeps it simple on the defensive end, playing almost exclusively man-to-man and throwing in an occasional zone look at opponents for a possession or two just for a different wrinkle.
"Our entire defensive philosophy is based on keeping the opponent as far away from the rim as possible," Washowich said. "I've always believed that the closer you are to the basket then the better your chances are of scoring."
Norwin anticipated that this could be a successful season as it lost only two seniors from last year's team and returned four starters, including standout senior forward Matt Stewart.
However, the Knights got an unexpected boost to its already talented roster at the start of the school year when sophomore swingman Curtis Perz transferred from Greensburg Central Catholic. Perz leads Norwin in scoring with a 16 point per game average.
"He's been living in the Norwin School District his entire life and he decided he wanted to switch schools," Washowich said. "We're very happy to have him. He has fit in exceptionally well with the rest of our guys and has really played well. He's an excellent player with a bright future."
Norwin is hoping it has a section title in its immediate future. The Knights are alone in first place, one-half game in front of Penn-Trafford (7-2, 2-0) and one game ahead of Hempfield Area (7-3, 2-1).
Norwin opened section play with a 48-45 victory against Hempfield on Dec. 14. The Knights end the first half of the section schedule with a trip to Penn-Trafford on Jan. 15.
Norwin, which ended the 2012 portion of its schedule with a 53-47 non-section victory last Saturday at Baldwin, doesn't play again until Tuesday when it visits section rival Albert Gallatin.
"The win over Hempfield was really big for us because it's a tough section and you can't afford to lose your home games," Washowich said. "There are a lot of good teams in this section and it's going to be a battle. I'm happy with how we've done so far but it's still early and we have room for improvement."
First Published January 3, 2013 12:00 am