HERSHEY - Playing a fun-to-watch, team-oriented brand of basketball had served Archbishop Wood well this season, so it was only fitting that the ball was passed crisply and often Friday night as the Vikings capped a season of firsts by overwhelming Meadville, 73-40, in the PIAA Class 5A championship at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The Vikings finished the game with four players in double figures, while, in stark contrast, three players scored all of the Bulldogs' points.
"When we share the ball and don't care who gets credit, it's more 'we and not me,' " said Wood head coach John Mosco, who led the Vikings to their first Catholic League championship and now its first PIAA boys' basketball championship.
Tyree Pickron led the Vikings with 19 points, 14 of which came in the first half. The junior wing shot 6 of 13 overall and 5 of 9 from behind the three-point line.
Senior point guard Collin Gillespie finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Seth Pinkney, a 6-foot-11 junior forward, added 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
As a team, the Vikings (28-3) tallied 16 assists on 29 made field goals (29 of 71 overall).
"The way we play, I think it's the best brand of basketball," said Pickron, whose outside shooting in the second half of the PCL finale at the Palestra sparked a double-digit second-half comeback against Neumann-Goretti.
"We're all friends," he continued. "We all treat it as a family. We all score; we don't care [how] that happens. We just want to play basketball."
By halftime on Friday, the Vikings had already plundered ahead, 40-21, with Pickron leading the way with 14 points, including four three-pointers (5 of 8 overall, 4 of 6 from three).
The lead eventually ballooned to, 61-31, early in the fourth quarter. In its five-game romp through Class 5A play, the Vikings won by an average margin of victory of 24 points.
Pickron came out with 6 minutes, 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Gillespie exited to rousing applause from the faction of Wood supporters in attendance with about 2:30 left.
The announced attendance for the round of night games was nearly 5,000.
Mosco, a longtime assistant coach at Neumann-Goretti, had never coached in the Giant Center in Hershey. The Saints' PIAA championships had previously been captured at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College.
"When I left Neumann-Goretti four years ago," Mosco said, "I never dreamed it would be this successful this quickly."
With juniors Pickron, Andrew Funk (10 points) and Karrington Wallace (three blocks) set to return next season, it's possible that Wood might not be strangers to Hershey.
"Andrew Funk coming back. Seth Pinkney coming back. Karrington Wallace coming back." Pickron said. "We have a whole lot of weapons coming back, and I can't wait."
Archbishop Wood 17 23 18 15 - 73
Meadville 5 16 8 11 - 40
AW: Collin Gillespie 15, Keith Otto 2, Tyree Pickron 18, Seth Pinkney 11, Matt Cerruti 7, Andrew Funk 10, Karrington Wallace 4, Julius Phillips 6.
M: Lashon Lindsey 9, Armoni Foster 17, Simeal Wofford 14.