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PIAA girls basketball roundup: Blackhawk girls headed to Hershey

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 10:09 p.m.

The Blackhawk girls basketball team has a history of success in the PIAA playoffs, winning state titles in both 1999 and 2000. When you couple that with head coach Steve Lodovico's two trips to Hershey as a Blackhawk player in the mid-1990's, the blueprint for success was built for legacies to grow.

That plan took one more step as Blackhawk defeated Palmyra, 49-41, in the Class AAA girls semifinals Tuesday night at Altoona High School.

“I thought all year this team had what it took to get to this level and get to this game,” Lodovico said. “I've been there twice as a player and for them to get to go experience this, it's going to be a great opportunity for them.”

Duquesne recruit Chassidy Omogrosso led all scorers with 15 points, but she found herself in different types of trouble in the first half. She picked up two early fouls in the first quarter, forcing her to the bench. On Blackhawk's first possession of the second quarter, she rolled her ankle and again had to sit for a few minutes.

The score was tied at 19 after Blackhawk's Halle Denman picked up her third personal foul with 4:32 remaining in the first half. With Omogrosso hobbled and Denman on the bench, the Cougars had more than 30 points-per-game in peril. No matter, as Omogrosso and Courtney Vannoy, a Loyola (Md.) recruit, spearheaded an 11-2 run to close the first half with Blackhawk leading 30-21.

Palmyra fought back to cut the deficit to 38-35, but a 6-0 run midway through the fourth quarter jumped the Blackhawk lead back to nine points, and the team's stifling defense closed the deal.

“We just finished strong and it's the best feeling in the world,” Omogrosso said. “We're going to Hershey.”

Spring-Ford 47, North Allegheny 32 — With its point guard injured, North Allegheny relied often on long jumpers in a loss to the defending state champion in the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals at Chambersburg. Abby Gonzales sat with an undisclosed injury, leaving the Tigers searching for offense.

“Unfortunately, we didn't know that Abby wouldn't be available until we got on the bus today,” North Allegheny coach Sherri McConnell said. “But we felt we still had enough players to do what we needed to do.”

Leading 25-20 in the third quarter, Spring-Ford used an 11-0 run to pull away. NA trailed 36-20 after three. Sammy Stipa had 14 points for Spring-Ford (26-5) and Shelby Mueller had 12.

“I thought we got a couple of good looks at the start of the second half, very good looks,” McConnell said. “But when we missed a couple and they got that run, we were playing from behind. That's not what we like to do.”

Devvin LaBarge had 16 points for North Allegheny (25-3).

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