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Norwin races by Raiders in 58-20 girls hoops playoff decision

Seneca Valley's Emerson Peffer tries to keep the ball safe and away from two Norwin defenders on her way to the hoop in the teams’ Thursday-night WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle

NORTH HUNTINGDON TWP — The components of Seneca Valley’s 58-20 WPIAL Class 6A girls hoops quarterfinal loss at top-seeded Norwin Thursday night were straightforward.

Raiders coach Dorothea Epps underlined her side’s opponent as a model for what she wants her program to develop into.

“We had a hard time scoring, then we had a hard time stopping them,” she said. “What I told my team is, ‘That’s what we want to be. That’s what we’re aspiring to be. That team. That’s a championship team.’ They came out and they just put it to us.”

The Knights (19-3) limited Seneca Valley to one field goal make in the initial quarter, that coming on the Raiders’ first possession. After that, Seneca Valley (12-11) allowed 18 unanswered points, going quiet for nearly nine and a half minutes.

“You kind of understand that it’s going to be a little bit of a choppy start at the beginning,” Norwin coach Brian Brozeski said. “Coach Dorothea does a great job. She’s a great coach that’s able to go ahead and put a game plan together. You’ve got to take a little bit of time to figure out what she’s trying to take away from.

“Fortunately for us, honestly, the shots started dropping down.”

The Raiders shot 4-for-19 (21%) in the first 16 minutes and committed 11 turnovers in that time frame. They trailed by 23 at the midway point.

“We knew they were going to try to take away Natalie (Hambly),” Epps said. “But the other girls had to step up a little bit. To be honest with you, they looked shell-shocked. From the tip, it was like we thought we would hang in there and we would hang in there.

“You could see the determination on their faces. You could tell that we were really going to have to really run our offense precisely because they were really defending us really well.”

Makayla Canty put a stop to the Seneca Valley drought with a free throw make with 5:47 to play in the first half, then the Knights’ Ava Kobus replied with a trey on the other end. A few minutes later, after the Raiders got on the board again, Kobus did the same as before.

The Raiders were held scoreless in the third quarter and Norwin got the mercy clock going before two minutes had passed after halftime.

“When we thought we had a spark going, (when) we did score a couple baskets, they would come down ... and they’re just so together,” Epps said. “They know where each other’s going to be at, they know where the pass should go. They worked us. They totally worked us on defense.”

Senior reserve player Kaydence Kilhof paced Seneca Valley with eight points, all of which were scored in the final frame. The Knights got double-digit efforts out of Kendall Berger (14 points), Lauren Palangio (12), and Kobus (13).

SENECA VALLEY 20

Kaydence Kilhof 3 0-0 8, Natalie Hambly 3 0-0 7 Gracie Cato 1 1-1 3, Emerson Peffer 0 1-2 1, Makayla Canty 0 1-2 1. Totals: 7 2 3-5 20.

NORWIN 58

Kendall Berger 5 3-4 14, Ava Kobus 4 2-3 13, Lauren Palangio 4 4-7 12, Ava Christopher 4 0-0 8, Alexis Heller 3 0-0 6, Averi Brozeski 10-0 3, Bella Furno 1 0-0 2, Elizabeth Yarosik 0 0-2 0. Totals: 22 9-16 58.

Seneca Valley 2 10 0 8 — 20

Norwin 12 23 11 12 — 58

3-point goals: Norwin 5 (Kobus 3, Berger, Brozeski); Seneca Valley 3 (Kilhof 2, Hambly)

Seneca Valley's Gracie Cato drives through the Norwin defenders in the teams’ Thursday-night WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
Seneca Valley's Gracie Cato grabs a high pass from her teammate tonight and looks for where she’s going to pass it before she hits the floor in the teams’ Thursday-night WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
Seneca Valley's Emerson Peffer drives the baseline and gets stiff completion from Norwin's Lauren Palangio in the teams’ Thursday-night WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
Seneca Valley's Brooke Dufford goes up and gets the ball batted away by Norwin's Bella Ferno in the teams’ Thursday-night WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
Seneca Valley head coach Dorothea Epps tries to get her team all on the same page tonight in the team’s Thursday-night WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
Seneca Valley’s Gracie Cato battles and gets good position around Norwin's Bailey Snowberger in Thursday night’s WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle
Seneca Valley's Emerson Peffer drives to the hoop tonight against two tough Norwin defenders in the Raiders’ Thursday-night WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinal playoff loss at Norwin High School. Ed Thompson/Butler Eagle

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