Norwin’s Brian Brozeski is an intense coach who said his team lacked intensity in its game Monday against Latrobe, a contest in which the host Knights still won by 23 points.

So, when Brozeski’s team hit the road Thursday to take on two-time defending WPIAL Class 5A champion South Fayette, it was no wonder what the message was that Brozeski delivered to his team.

“Latrobe outworked us defensively and their aggression was higher than ours,” Brozeski said. “We wanted to make sure that we bounced back the right way and we wanted to try to match South Fayette’s intensity. And I think that was a good job by our girls coming out and putting forth a solid defensive performance.”

“Solid” would be an understatement.

Class 6A Norwin locked in defensively and locked down South Fayette, as the visiting Knights rolled to a 49-30 win in a matchup of WPIAL title hopefuls in their respective classifications.

This was a defensive clinic from Norwin (5-1), which a season ago reached the WPIAL and PIAA Class 6A semifinals. The Knights limited South Fayette to 20% shooting from the field (8 of 39), forced a dozen turnovers, and held South Fayette to without a field goal for more than nine minutes at one point in the second half.

Norwin was led by 6-foot-2 senior center Lauren Palangio, who scored a game-high 14 points and was fabulous down low with her interior defense. Ava Kobus added 13 points while Ava Christopher and Bella Furno scored 7 points apiece. The Knights shot 51% from the field (20 of 39).

“That’s a difference maker,” Brozeski said of Palangio, a Division II Holy Family recruit. “ I can’t say enough good things about Lauren. When you talk about the defense being good, what she does is bring such a good presence for everyone. She communicates well. She really helps make our defense go. She’s a special player and I’m glad she’s on Norwin.”

South Fayette (3-2), which owns wins against Class 6A teams Upper St. Clair and Chartiers Valley, is trying to find its way without former stars Maddie Webber (Villanova) and Ava Leroux (Elon), both of whom are seeing major minutes in college as freshmen. But with players such as Lainey Yater and Erica Hall still in the fold and having a rising star in sophomore Juliette “JuJu” Leroux, this is still a talented group of Lions. Alexa Ankrum led the way Thursday with 8 points and Leroux chipped in 6.

Norwin players and coach Brian Brozeski react after Bella Furno knocks down a 3-pointer Thursday in a 49-30 win at South Fayette. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Other girls games

• Saint Francis recruit Gemma Walker scored a game-high 23 points to help Peters Township (5-0, 1-0) begin section play on a high note courtesy of a 65-53 win at Bethel Park (2-4, 0-1) in Class 6A Section 2. Bri Morreale added 14 points and Natalie Wetzel 13 for the Indians. Sadie Orie led Bethel Park with 19 points.

• Rylee Kalocay pumped in 27 points to vault Upper St. Clair (4-2, 1-0) to a 49-42 win at Baldwin (2-2, 0-1) in Class 6A Section 2. The Panthers outscored Baldwin, 20-8, in the fourth quarter. Lynsey Bernotas paced Baldwin with 12 points and Laci Bernotas had 11.

Serra Catholic (5-1, 1-0) had a monster game offensively in a 95-23 home win against Steel Valley (0-6, 0-1) in Class 2A Section 3. The 95 points tied for the most scored in the WPIAL this season. Aliquippa also scored 95 Thursday. Niki Sfanos led Serra with 28 points, Bri Battles added 21 and Abby Genes 18.

• Kendall Lee scored 15 points and Savaughn Wimbs had 14 to push West Mifflin (3-3, 1-0) to a 42-41 overtime win at Belle Vernon (3-2, 0-1) in Class 4A Section 3. West Mifflin outscored Belle Vernon, 4-3, in overtime. Saylor Lee paced Belle Vernon with 18 points.

• Alayna Rocco’s 18 points propelled North Catholic (2-1, 1-0) to a 44-24 win at Highlands (3-2, 0-1) in Class 4A Section 1. The Trojanettes outscored Highlands, 26-9, in the second half. Jocelyn Bielak and Kalleigh Nerone led Highlands with 8 points apiece.

• Olivia Pepple scored 16 points and Penn-Trafford (5-1, 1-0) used a 13-point edge in the first quarter to roll to a 55-23 win at Connellsville (2-4, 0-1) in Class 5A Section 3.

• Kaley Rohanna scored 18 points and Peyton Cowell added 11 points and 10 rebounds to help Waynesburg (6-0) remain unbeaten after a 57-14 non-section win at West Greene (1-5). 

• In a matchup of winless teams, Franklin Regional (1-4, 1-0) got 15 points from Olivia Orndoff and 14 from Toryn Fulton to defeat visiting Woodland Hills, 74-43, in Class 5A Section 1. Jhalynn Wilson led Woodland Hills (0-4, 0-1) with 29 points.

Boys game

• Joey Coyle scored 13 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to propel Quaker Valley (3-2) to a 67-56 non-section win at Union (1-4). Coyle went 11 of 11 from the free-throw line. Zach Washington added five 3-pointers and 17 points for the Quakers.

Three stars

*** — Maggie Spell, Shady Side Academy. Spell racked up 28 points in leading host Shady Side Academy (5-0) to a 61-24 non-section win against Quaker Valley (0-5). Karis Thomas chipped in 19 points for the Bulldogs.

** — Shaye Bailey, Freedom. Bailey scored 10 of her 21 points in the fourth quarter to help Freedom (2-3, 1-0) hold on for a 55-43 win against visiting South Side (3-3, 0-1) in Class 2A Section 1.

* — Meghan Murray, Hampton. A Kent State recruit, Murray poured in a game-high 29 points to lead Hampton (2-4, 1-0) to a 71-27 win against visiting New Castle (0-6, 0-1) in Class 5A Section 2.

Hot from deep

Players with 3 or more 3-pointers: Niki Sfanos, Serra Catholic, 6; Ava Ciarelli, Steel Valley, 6; Zach Washington, Quaker Valley, 5; Emma Paul, Armstrong, 4; Milani Oliver, Penn Hills, 4; Laci Bernotas, Baldwin, 3; Braylon Thomas, Union, 3; Kaley Rohanna, Waynesburg, 3; Nathan Schwarz, Western Beaver, 3.

Boys scores

Central Valley 62, Western Beaver 37

Frazier 55, Jefferson-Morgan 41

Homewood, Ala. 52, North Allegheny 42

Quaker Valley 67, Union 56

Sewickley Academy 65, Carrick 60

South Park 55, Clairton 45

Summit Academy 54, Propel Braddock Hills 42

West Greene 57, Waynesburg 53

Girls scores

Aliquippa 95, New Brighton 5

Brownsville 55, Jefferson-Morgan 20

Burgettstown 45, Laurel 19

Burrell 46, Ambridge 19

Chartiers-Houston 45, California 36

Chartiers Valley 56, Butler 34

Elizabeth Forward 56, Ringgold 20

Franklin Regional 74, Woodland Hills 43

Freedom 55, South Side 43

Freeport 60, Valley 18

Greensburg C.C. 72, Ellis School 15

Greensburg Salem 64, Derry 29

Hampton 71, New Castle 27

Indiana 49, Penn Hills 37

Montour 58, Fort Cherry 17

Moon 48, Beaver Falls 45

North Catholic 44, Highlands 24

North Hills 44, Fox Chapel 39

Norwin 49, South Fayette 30

Oakland Catholic 67, Latrobe 44

Penn-Trafford 55, Connellsville 23

Peters Township 65, Bethel Park 53

Riverview 56, East Allegheny 17

Rochester 62, Shenango 26

Serra Catholic 95, Steel Valley 23

Shady Side Academy 61, Quaker Valley 24

Shaler 48, Armstrong 39

Thomas Jefferson 46, Albert Gallatin 28

Trinity 59, Pine-Richland 46

Upper St. Clair 49, Baldwin 42

Waynesburg 57, West Greene 14

West Mifflin 42, Belle Vernon 41 (OT)

Windber 57, Ligonier Valley 43

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at