Tigers Fall To Knights In WPIAL Championship Duel, 56-41

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Photo Gallery by Carol & Dana Manz

Two familiar foes battled for a WPIAL Class 6A championship on Friday night at the Petersen Events Center and the top-seeded Norwin Knights earned the District 7 crown with a 56-41 victory over the third-seeded North Allegheny Tigers. The Knights earned their third overall WPIAL championship and first since beating NA in the 2016 title game.

Things looked good for the reigning WPIAL champions in the first quarter as North Allegheny opened up a 6-0 lead with 5:04 on the clock, thanks in part to a pair of layups by senior guard Grace Heliger and a feisty defense. Norwin answered with a 7-0 run to take a brief 7-6 advantage, but senior forward Lydia Betz buried a 3-pointer to give NA the lead back at 9-7 with 2:43 remaining in the period. The Betz trey sparked another 6-0 run for the Tigers and NA led 12-7 with 2:16 left in the first.

Despite the early momentum, Norwin swung the pendulum in its direction with a tide-tuning 14-0 run and a 21-12 lead by the midway point of the second quarter. From that point on, the Knights never trailed again and grew the lead to as much as 16 points in the fourth quarter, 48-32, and prevailed by a 56-41 decision.

Norwin was paced on the scoreboard by sophomore Ava Christopher with a game-high 16 points. However, the best overall performance was delivered by senior forward Lauren Polangio, who tallied a double-double with 12 points, 15 rebounds and dominated the paint with five blocks. Junior Kendall Berger added 10 points for the Knights.

For North Allegheny, Betz paced the team with a team-high 13 points and was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. Senior guard Caroline Henderson attempted to lead a comeback charge for NA in the second and scored nine of her 11 points in the second half.

North Allegheny falls to 22-3 overall, while Norwin improves to 21-3 on the season. Both teams will host PIAA first round games on Friday, March 8.

Girls Basketball vs. Norwin, 3-1-24

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