BETHLEHEM, Pa. - When people think about Archbishop Wood girls' basketball teams, they usually think about defense.
It's become a hallmark. And the Vikings have three straight state championships from 2010 to 2012 to show for it.
There's the discipline, the strategy, the grit, and the uncanny ability to get the opponent to make a mistake.
The result is that by the final buzzer, the opposing team has had one heck of a time trying to get the ball into the net.
Interim coach Mike McDonald's team is so good on the defensive end that sometimes one forgets just how efficiently the Vikings run their offensive sets.
Wood showed off that offensive dimension Tuesday, defeating Conrad Weiser, 56-46, in the semifinals of the PIAA Class AAA state tournament at Freedom High School.
The victory earned the Vikings (26-4) the right to return to Hershey to play for the state championship. They will face Blackhawk on Saturday at the Giant Center in a rematch of last year's title game, which the Vikings lost.
"When we really get going in our offense it helps us go on a run," freshman Kate Connolly said. "We can settle down, get in the offense, and get the open shot."
Settling down was especially important, as Wood played without its leading scorer, junior Bailey Greenberg. She reinjured her right ankle in a quarterfinal Saturday. Greenberg had an MRI and is awaiting results. McDonald said there's a possibility that she could play Saturday.
"Bailey really helps our offense, so not having her is a deficit, but we just have to work around that and we did," junior Claire Bassetti said. "And we did well."
Bassetti was one of the players who stepped up in Greenberg's absence. She scored a game-high 14 points and knocked down two enormous three pointers when things got tight in the fourth quarter.
"Claire was gigantic again," McDonald said. "Gigantic again. I was a little bit worried about all those threes we were taking with a lead, but she came in and knocked two of them down."
Defense may be the Vikings' calling card. But that doesn't mean they can't be clutch on offense, too.
Conrad Weiser 15 8 10 13 - 46
Archbishop Wood 15 19 8 14 - 56
CW: Hannah Racis 12, Gwyn Price 11, TaCari Talford 10, Chelsea Erkes 7, Kiersten Ingram 6.
AW: Claire Bassetti 14, Aubree Brown 12, Kate Connolly 12, Karly Brown 8, Katie May 6, Cassie Sebold 4.