The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


March 24, 2014

A Don McCormack column: The ex-files...

Former PV coach Steve Lodovico leads Blackhawk to girls basketball state title in Pennsylvania

A decade or so ago, Steve Lodovico came west from Blackhawk, Pa. to accept a teaching position at Pymatuning Valley High School, where he served as eighth-grade boys basketball coach on the staff of Jeremy Huber.

However, the tug of home pulled him back to Blackhawk, where he became not only a teacher — of the fourth grade at Blackhawk Intermediate School — but the Cougars’ varsity girls basketball coach after serving one season as an assistant for his high school coach, the legendary John Miller.

Saturday, he guided his alma mater to its third Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state championship with a 51-43 triumph against Archbishop Wood to capture the Class AAA crown at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Lodovico had experienced being a state champion as a player 18 years previous, starting at point guard for Miller’s two-time PIAA state championship squads, doing so in Class AAA in the 1994-95 and 1995-96 campaigns.

He said he wanted his players — who finished the 2013-14 season with a 28-2 record en route to winning the state championship — to have memories akin to what he has carried for almost two decades.

“To this day, it’s one of the best memories, besides getting married and having my two kids, that I’ll never forget,” Lodovico, who just finished his ninth season at the helm, said. “They’re going to remember it for the rest of their lives and it’s a lot better when you win.”

Lodovico’s squad earned the title the way all great teams do — shooting lights out from the free-throw line and limiting turnovers.

The Cougars connected on 21 of 24 from the charity stripe in the game — including 13 of 14 in the final quarter — and committed just six turnovers.

Blackhawk won back-to-back Class AAA PIAA state titles in 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

Lodovico knows his players have fostered memories they will carry with them forever.

“I told them this is really a big deal, something they are never going to forget,” Lodovico, whose squad won its last 12 games in blazing its trail to the gold, said. “I was lucky enough to win two in a row, and they are going to remember it for the rest of their lives.

“This one means more. You can appreciate so much more what it takes now. When you’re 17 or 18, you really don’t think about that but, when you’re 36, you know how much hard work is involved.”

Don’t be surprised if Lodovico’s girls match him by making it consecutive state championships next winter, even though they will lose Indiana University of Pennsylvania recruit Halle Denman (13 points in the title game Saturday, including 9 of 12 from the free-throw line) to graduation.

Standout guard Chassidy Omogrosso, who led all scorers in the championship game by pouring in 26 points — including a clutch 8-for-8 performance from the free-throw line in the second half, 6 of 6 in the fourth quarter — and added 8 rebounds and 4 steals is only a junior.

Three other Blackhawk starters will also return with the Omogrosso, a Duquense commit, to form a formidable defending state champion. A year ago, the Cougars lost in the state semifinals.

“We’ve got Omogrosso, so I think we can win every game with her,” Lodovico said.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at

Text Only
  • Sam Going strong!

    Back on track... and still alive and kicking, er, hitting!

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 18U Outlaws split first two

    A stirring rally in their last at-bat allowed the Ohio Outlaws 18-and-under squad to prevail in its first game at the Eastern National Tournament on Thursday in Sterling, Va.

    August 1, 2014

  • UMC rolls to church title

    The Andover United Methodist Church co-ed softball team capped a successful season by applying the basics. Timely hitting and solid defense both came into play as they polished off the losers’ bracket winner, New Life Fire of Geneva, 10-4, to claim the Ashtabula Church Co-ed Softball League — Thursday Massucci Division championship.

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians Mariners sink Tribe

    Another difficult day on the trade front ended with a disappointing loss for the Cleveland Indians.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video