HERSHEY, Pa. - Aubree Brown was fired up.
The stalwart senior leader of the Archbishop Wood girls' basketball team pleaded her case to the officials with 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter of the PIAA Class AAA state final. She couldn't believe what had just happened.
Blackhawk's Courtney Vannoy had converted a breakaway layup to put Wood down by three points.
The play didn't quite put Wood in the hole; the Vikings were still down only a single possession. But Brown had flown by Vannoy with her arm up, and she was whistled for a controversial foul.
Vannoy drained the free throw, and Wood couldn't claw back, falling to Blackhawk, 46-40, for the second straight season at the Giant Center.
Brown is usually even-keeled. But this time it was different. This time it was the final 52 seconds of her career - her final moments in a Wood uniform.
"I don't even want it, actually," Brown said of being runner-up. "I am proud that we got here - it's an accomplishment - but we're not happy with second. We don't like to lose."
Losing isn't something Brown has done often in her career. The Vikings (26-5) amassed a 91-28 record over the last four years against some of the stiffest competition in not only the area but the country.
"My last game playing with these girls, last game wearing a Wood uniform," the Drexel-bound Brown said. "I really didn't want to lose."
For a while, it looked as if the guard was going to get her wish. The Vikings came out hot and took control of the game.
Much like last year, it was free throws that did in the Vikings against the Cougars (28-3).
Blackhawk went 17 of 17 from the line; Wood was just 4 of 12.
"I thought we were going to win the whole time," junior Claire Bassetti said. "I really didn't think this was going to be the outcome."
While Wood loses Brown to graduation, the Vikings will return four starters, including leading scorer Bailey Greenberg, and three key reserves.
"I'm excited for the future - it's hard right now," Bassetti said. "I'll get there."
If the future is anything like the past, Bassetti and the Vikings should have a lot to be excited about.
Archbishop Wood 14 11 6 9 - 40
Blackhawk 8 18 11 9 - 46
AW: Aubree Brown 16, Bailey Greenberg 10, Karly Brown 5, Katie May 3, Claire Bassetti 2, Kate Connolly 2, Cassie Sebold 2.
B: Chassidy Omogrosso 23, Courtney Vannoy 17, Bridgette Shaffer 4, Breanna Hoover 2.