Blackhawk Girls Golden Again In Hershey

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Saturday, March 21, 2015 | 9:19 PM


It was truly a team effort as the Blackhawk Cougars (28-3) rallied from a first half deficit to defeat the Archbishop Wood Vikings, 46-40, in the PIAA Girls Class AAA Championship Game on Saturday evening at Giant Center in Hershey.

The win gives Blackhawk back-to-back PIAA Championship Game victories over Archbishop Wood (26-5), as the Cougars won 51-43 in last year’s title game. Blackhawk has now won four girls state titles, going back-to-back in 1999 and 2000 as well.

The Cougars missed their first six shots and trailed 7-0 and 14-4 in the opening quarter. But Duquesne University recruit Chassidy Omogrosso led the comeback with 23 points, while Courtney Vannoy, a Loyola (Md.) recruit, added 17 points for Blackhawk.

As good as Omogrosso was, it was Vannoy who may have been the star of the night for Blackhawk. She drew the defensive assignment on Drexel recruit Aubree Brown in the second half. Brown burned the Cougars for 16 points in the first half, leading Blackhawk coach Steve Lodovico to ask his players in the locker room at halftime who wanted to guard Brown. Vannoy stepped up to the challenge, holding Brown to zero points in the second half as Blackhawk was able to maintain the lead.

The Cougars trailed 14-8 after the first quarter but were able to carve into the lead in the second quarter, even with Omorgrosso playing with two fouls for the final seven minutes of the half. But the senior had back-to-back baskets in the final minute, with a baby hook shot and then a buzzer-beating layup for the final points that gave Blackhawk a 26-25 lead at the break.

Omogrosso added a three pointer late in the third that gave Blackhawk their biggest lead of the night at 37-29. Lodovico said the team just stuck together, using a hard working attitude that has been a staple of the Cougars over their run.

That margin would not last long as Archbishop Wood scored the first five points of the fourth to cut the Blackhawk lead to one point. The Vikings had a chance to take the lead in the quarter, but Katie May missed a right wing three pointer.

Trailing 39-38 with two minutes to play after a Claire Bassetti steal and score, the Vikings had another opportunity to go ahead, but Brown missed two free throws, part of an 0-for-6 night from the stripe.

After that, it was another Blackhawk player’s time to shine. Breanna Hoover would miss on a drive to the hoop and then committed a turnover on the next possession, but the sophomore more than made up for those blunders with her steal and pass to Vannoy, who converted a conventional three-point play to put the Cougars up 42-38.

But Archbishop Wood wasn’t done, as Bailey Greenburg scored on a reverse layup with under 30 seconds to play. The junior was questionable coming into the game after missing the Vikings’ semifinal win over Conrad Weiser.

But in Blackhawk team fashion, senior guard Bridgette Shaffer, who hadn’t scored for 31-plus minutes, drained four straight free throws to seal the State Championship victory. The Cougars were a perfect 17-of-17 from the line, while Archbishop Wood was just 4-of-12.

Omogrosso closed out her high school career with 23 points in a game in which she played all 32 minutes. The 5’5” guard ends her career with 2,684 points and passed McKeesport’s Swin Cash for sixth place on the WPIAL’s all-time scoring list. Lodovico was asked if Omogrosso was the best ever at Blackhawk. He said “yes” without any hesitation.

The Cougars will lose Omogrosso, Vannoy, Shaffer and Danielle Levato. Vannoy said the seniors have been playing together since they were in third grade and that they do everything together. Blackhawk shot 16-of-39 from the floor, but were just 1-of-14 from behind the arc. The Cougars committed just six turnovers and won the battle of the boards, 27-25. Vannoy and Madison Amalia led the rebounding way with five each.

Brown’s 16 points led the District 12 Champion Vikings. She also cleaned the glass for seven rebounds. Greenberg added ten points and five rebounds. The Vikings were 16-of-39 from the field with 4 three-pointers.

Score By Quarters:
Blackhawk Cougars  8 – 18 – 11 – 9 = 46
Archbishop Wood Vikings 14 – 11- 6 – 9 = 40

 

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