HERSHEY, Pa. - The basketball bounced on the Giant Center court, and the shoes of the Archbishop Wood girls' players rubbed against the floor, causing squeaks, as the Vikings pressed on defense.
As the game progressed, the bounces got closer together and the feet moved more quickly.
But the intensity didn't translate into a victory, as Wood fell to Blackhawk in the PIAA Class AAA championship game, 51-43, Saturday night.
Chassidy Omogrosso paced Blackhawk (28-2) on both ends of the floor, consistently getting to the rim on offense and wreaking havoc on defense.
Omogrosso was never subbed out of the game, and her presence was felt on nearly every possession.
"We play similar players in the Catholic League - [Cardinal O'Hara's] Mia Farmer, [Bonner-Prendergast's] Alyssa Monaghan - and that's who I compare her to," Wood coach John Gallagher said of Omogrosso.
"That's a good compliment, if you don't know who those players are."
While the Vikings (26-4) did a good job of stopping the other Cougars, they couldn't find an answer for Omogrosso (26 points), as the junior made big play after big play all contest.
On the flip side, Wood couldn't get its shots to fall.
"In the second half, when they started to make shots and we started to miss shots, that's when the momentum changed. And that is when we started to fall apart on offense a bit," Wood senior Laura Trisch said.
The Vikings shot just 26 percent from the floor in the second half and were 2 for 5 from the foul line. Despite the poor shooting, they had several key stops on defense and found themselves down by just three with 61/2 minutes to play.
Wood forced only six turnovers - a small number for any defense but a minuscule one for the Vikings, who usually induce 18 a game.
"They weren't turning the ball over, and that was the issue," Trisch said. "We were trying to make them turn it over, but they didn't feed into our defense."
In the waning seconds, the outcome already decided, Jane Arcidiacono had the ball at the top of the three-point arc. She took a few dribbles to her right, a few more to her left, and then took the ball to the basket before laying it in.
They were Wood's final points of the season, fittingly scored by a member of the senior class. The bucket meant more than just two points, however, as it was scored by a Viking who was more significant to the squad than her minutes played demonstrated.
The play wasn't flashy. It was matter-of-fact. It was well-executed. It was successful.
Just like the nine members of the Vikings' senior class.
Blackhawk 13 10 13 15 - 51
Archbishop Wood 16 11 4 12 - 43
B: Chassidy Omogrosso 26, Halle Denman 13, Danielle Levator 6, Courtney Vannoy 4, Mariah Evans 2.
AW: Bailey Greenberg 15, Aubree Brown 10, Laura Trisch 5, Catey McFadden 5, Jess Kaminski 4, Emily Kiernowski 2, Jane Arcidiacono 2.