Blackhawk girls nab PIAA Class AAA title
HERSHEY — Blackhawk junior guard Chassidy Omogrosso felt the momentum change early in the third quarter.
Her team was trailing the entire game to District 12 champion Archbishop Wood when she made a 3-pointer to give her team its first lead.
The Cougars never trailed again.
Blackhawk (28-2) went on a 9-0 run and won its third PIAA Class AAA state title by rallying to defeat Archbishop Wood, 51-43, on Saturday at Giant Center.
Blackhawk's previous state titles came in 1999 and 2000. The Cougars defeated Montoursville both years.
Omogrosso led the comeback by scoring a game-high 26 points. Her 3-pointer early in the third quarter gave Blackhawk its first lead of the game at 30-29.
Senior Halle Denman, her cousin, then scored four consecutive points. Omogrosso added another basket to push the lead to 36-29. Denman chipped in 13 points.
“This is an amazing feeling, but I couldn't have done it without my teammates and coaches,” Omogrosso said. “Everyone stepped up and played well.”
Denman added: “We deserved it because we worked so hard all year. We've played so much together, we knew we had to pick each other up.”
Archbishop Wood, which made only 4 of 19 3-pointers, ran out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter by hitting three 3-pointers. The Vikings led 16-13 after one quarter and 27-23 at halftime.
But Blackhawk didn't panic and stuck to its game plan.
“We stayed calm,” Omogrosso said. “We still had three quarters to play. We turned it up on defense, and then the offense came alive.”
Archbishop Wood, which forced 18 turnovers per game this season, couldn't slow down the Blackhawk offense. The Cougars turned over the ball six times.
“We didn't turn them over,” Archbishop Wood coach John Gallagher said. “They got a shot every time, and that doesn't happen too often against us.”
Blackhawk coach Steve Lodovico said his team's protection of the basketball was key.
“We have the best three guards in the state handling the ball in Omogrosso, Denman and (Bridget) Shafer,” Lodovico said. “You're not going to take it from them.
“You can't win if you turn the ball over. We're not going to turn it over, and we're going to win games. They had a tough time chasing Chassidy. They finally ran out of gas.”
Free-throw shooting was another key. Blackhawk was 21 for 24 from the line, including 13 for 14 in the fourth quarter when it was protecting the lead.
Bailey Greenberg scored 15 points for Archbishop Wood (26-4), and Aubree Brown added 10. Gallagher said he felt having nine seniors would benefit his team.
“That's a lot of experience out on that floor, which makes you have to give Blackhawk a lot of credit,” Gallagher said. “They're a pretty young team. We had more experience. I thought that would get us over the hump, and it didn't.”
And because Blackhawk is so young, Omogrosso said the goal is to return to similar lofty heights next season.
“Our goal is to win the section, the WPIAL and the state title,” Omogrosso said. “I definitely have faith that we can do all three again.”