Blackhawk Holds Off South Park In Girls AAA Championship

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Saturday, March 1, 2014 | 5:45 PM


The Blackhawk Lady Cougars used torrid perimeter shooting early and clutch free throw shooting late to defeat South Park 62-55 to capture the WPIAL Class AAA Championship at the A.J. Palumbo Center.

Halle Denman netted a game-high 21 points for the Lady Cougars, while her teammates Chassidy Omogrosso, a Duquesne recruit, and Bridgette Shaffer also scored in double figures, with 17 and 14, respectively.

The Lady Eagles, the defending WPIAL and PIAA champions, were paced by Allison McGrath’s 19 points.

Top-seeded Blackhawk (23-2), which never trailed in the contest, gained an early lead when Shaffer knocked down a three-pointer, the first of six shots the Lady Cougars hit from behind the arc in the first half.

Later in the quarter, McGrath, South Park’s impressive sophomore, scored a bucket from the post to tie the score at 5-5.

Blackhawk would quickly regain control, however, as Omogrosso began to find her rhythm. She netted seven points in the quarter, including a layup as time expired, to give Blackhawk a 14-9 lead after the first.

The Lady Cougars’ offense caught fire in the second, as they hit four shots from three-point distance to extend their lead to 26-15.

South Park would respond, though, as the No. 3 seed Lady Eagles (21-5) scored five straight, including a Samantha Miller layup off a steal.

Blackhawk would ultimately take a 10-point advantage into the locker room, and the Lady Cougars carried their perimeter shooting into the third quarter.

Shaffer and Omogrosso each hit a three-pointer early in the quarter, as Blackhawk extended its lead to 38-21.

Lindsey Noss would trim the South Park deficit, though, as she scored five straight points, and would later convert a layup to pull the Lady Eagles within eight.

Late in the quarter, the Lady Cougars used a four-point possession to regain momentum. Denman received a long outlet pass, hit the layup and was fouled. She missed her subsequent foul shot, but Danielle Levato corralled the rebound and hit the putback to stake Blackhawk to a 47-35 edge entering the fourth.

Despite the deficit, the Lady Eagles showed their resiliency, as they used an 11-0 run to pull within three points.

Halie Torris, who scored 15 in the contest for South Park, made a conventional three-point play to bring South Park to 51-43.

McGrath would then hit a field goal, and follow it up with an and-one play to make it 51-48.
After the teams exchanged points, Torris made a layup to pull her squad within one, 53-52, with 1:45 remaining.

Blackhawk would then use nearly flawless shooting from the charity stripe to pull away.

Courtney Vannoy made both of her foul shots to push the Lady Cougars lead back to three. After a miss on the other end, Shaffer nailed both of her free throw attempts, putting Blackhead ahead 57-52. Denman and Omogrosso would seal the victory by hitting five straight from the line.

In addition to their superior shooting, the Lady Cougars also enjoyed a significant advantage on the glass, as they outrebounded South Park 32-21.

The triumph marks the sixth WPIAL Championship for the Blackhawk girls, while South Park falls to 3-2 when playing for the championship.

Both teams advance to the PIAA postseason, which begins next Friday.

Score by quarter
South Park   9 – 11 – 15 – 20 = 55
Blackhawk 14 – 16 – 17 – 15 = 62

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