- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) - With a thunderous assist from Blackhawk junior guard Chassidy Omogrosso, Steve Lodovico can now call himself a PIAA champion as a basketball player and coach.

Omogrosso poured in 26 points, and teammate Halle Denman added 13 as the fast-paced Cougars dealt Philadelphia-product Archbishop Wood a 51-43 setback Saturday in the girls PIAA Class AAA final at Giant Center.

The Vikings, runners-up in the famed Philadelphia Catholic League, earned a 27-23 halftime lead before Omogrosso and the District 7 challengers dug in. Started by a Courtney Vannoy baseline jumper, Blackhawk (28-2) seized control with a 13-4 rally in the third period. Omogrosso had 13 at the break and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line for the game.

The Cougars converted 21 of 24 from the line and committed just six turnovers to claim the program’s third overall championship. Lodovico was a starting guard on the Blackhawks back-to-back boy’s Class AAA title teams in 1995-96.

Bailey Greenberg (15 points) and Aubree Brown (10) hit double figures for Archbishop Wood (26-4), making its fourth title appearance in five seasons.

“I told them this is really a big deal, something they are never going to forget,” Lodovico said. “I was lucky enough to win two in a row, and they are going to remember it for the rest of their lives.”

Following Vannoy’s jumper, Omogrosso followed her bucket off a steal with a deep 3-pointer from the right wing. The shot handed Blackhawk the lead for good with 5:20 remaining in the third period.

With the District 12 champion Vikings in catch-up mode, Blackhawk hit 13 of 14 from the charity stripe in the final eight minutes. Omogrosso finished 8 of 19 from the field. “All I want to do is win,” Omogrosso said.

“We’ve got Omogrosso, so I think we can win every game with her,” Lodovico added. “Defensively in the second half we turned it up a different level. I said we had to get a little more pressure on their guards. They were just coming down setting flare screens and back screens. We weren’t putting pressure on the ball. Once we did that we noticed they were wearing down a little bit.”

Blackhawk, which pocketed consecutive Class AAA titles in 1999-2000, finished its campaign on a 12-game winning streak.

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