Trib HSSN Girls Basketball Team of the Week for the week ending December 18, 2021
Sunday 19 December 2021 | 22:26
It was a great start to the season for Blackhawk, the traditional powerhouse of women’s basketball.
The Cougars are 4-0, winning both games last week.
The third win of the season, however, was special. Monday’s win over Rochester saw Blackhawks coach Steve Lodovico take the 300th spot in his 17-year career.
“To be honest, I don’t think a lot of coaches care so much about their personal accomplishments,” Lodovico said. “We really love to train the game and watch the kids grow up and do well. I can say that what made 300 special was that I was able to accomplish this in a school. Blackhawk is a special place that has been part of my life since I was a child.
Lodovico won three WPIAL and PIAA championships as a player at Blackhawk and led the Cougars’ women’s team as a coach to three district crowns and two state titles.
Another reason Monday’s win was special is that it was a 28-point triumph over Rochester, the defending Class A champion and three-time defending champion.
“Rochester are a very good team and their success over the past three years is remarkable,” said Lodovico. “We always try to challenge our team with a schedule without a difficult section. Girls love to play games like these. This group is ultra-competitive and they were up to the challenge of playing the Rams. “
The Cougars continued this victory Thursday with a victory in their first game of the Section 2-4A against Montour, 69-23.
“We approach every game as if it was a league game,” Lodovico said. “The key to our victory over Montour was to have them play at our pace. We have always been a program that likes to play fast and make the opponent uncomfortable when playing against us. Much of what we do comes from the defense. We like to create a tempo by using multiple presses to speed up the opponent.
“Montour is a very good team with a lot of talented players. To be able to win this game like we did was a good sign that we could have something special. ”
Junior Kassie Potts led the Cougars in scoring Monday with 18 points. Junior Quinn Borroni added 13 points.
Alena Fusetti led Blackhawk on Thursday with 19 points and senior Casey Nixon scored 10 points.
While there might not be any superstars, Lodovico enjoys the depth of his squad.
“When you ask about the best players it’s very difficult with this group, and honestly I think that’s what makes us different. We have a load of great players who have all contributed to our success so far this season. It is by far the deepest team I have ever coached. In reality, we could play 12 girls without too much drop. The other thing that’s great about this band is that they’re very selfless and don’t care about individual distinctions. The only thing they care about is winning and having fun.
This group was successful a year ago, finishing 13-6 overall and reaching the WPIAL quarter-finals, but it was a tough season for Lodovico and the program when the Cougars lost two assistant coaches to cancer. within two months of Steve’s death. Blackhawks father and baseball coach Bob Amalia.
“To be honest, it’s still a very sensitive subject,” Lodovico said. “They were both the closest people in my life. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about them both. Not only was I deeply touched by their loss, but so were the girls. Going there and playing a current season was a challenge every day. There have been a lot of tears and pain throughout the season. We have always thought of these two coaches.
“This year, I see them finally come back to themselves and play the game they love without the stress of everything that happened last year.”
The 4-0 start is nice for Blackhawk, but Lodovico realizes that there are a lot of obstacles to overcome in a difficult section.
“I think when you look back in the history of our section you will find that every year it’s the most difficult and talented section in 4A. There were a lot of high caliber players who graduated last season so I don’t think there are that many dominant players, but there are still some really good teams.