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2018-19 District 9 Boys’ Basketball Preview Capsules

Here are the preview capsules for the 2018-19 District 9 basketball season, which begins Friday, Dec. 7.

(Photo of Bradford’s Tyler Gigliotti. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

Click here for the All American Awards & Engraving D9Sports.com District 9 Preseason Boys’ Team

A-C VALLEY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 9-14, 3-7 KSAC South (4th place)/Lost to North Clarion, 63-53, in D9 1A Quarterfinals
Head Coach: Andy Rapp
Top Returning Players: Eddie Stevanus, Levi Orton, Tanner Merwin
Key Newcomers: Jude Burkett, Eli Penny, Cole Dehart, Carson Snyder, Broc Weigle
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have two seniors, Brady Cullen and Caleb Penny, who have been playing in our system since they were in ninth grade, so they will be expected to help, assist, mentor and fill their role on the team. This year is going to be a great opportunity for our younger players to gain some valuable experience. With the loss of two key players, the team has to “find their way.” We are looking for a player to step up and fill the vacancy. This is developing now but will be tested once we get into the regular season and get out there on the road. The guard play will have to be aggressive, but smart. Our strength is our guard play, both defensively and offensively. We have the depth and expect to go to the sixth thru 10th man on our bench if that’s what it takes. The key to the season will be to keep games close by playing an aggressive man-to-man defense, must have bench players step up and contribute and everybody has to grind this thing out each and every night.

AUSTIN
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 13-10, 7-9 NTL (5th place)/Lost to Cameron County, 66-32, in D9 1A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Rich Glover
Top Returning Players: Dempsey Glover, Blake Burgett, Mason Valenti, Jackson Glover
Key Newcomers: None
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Improving on what we accomplished last season, playing a faster-paced game using our speed and shooting. This Austin team has been playing together very well, senior and junior leadership with our sophomore point guard.

BRADFORD
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 14-9, 8-2 D9 League (Tied for 1st place with Elk County Catholic)/Beat Punxsutawney, 37-30 in D9 4A Semifinals, Lost to Clearfield, 42-36, in D9 4A Finals.
Head Coach: Brian Hobbs
Top Returning Players: Tyler Gigliotti, Donny Pattison, Steven Knowlton
Key Newcomers: Blake Bryant, Hunter Fox, Gavin Babcock
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Team chemistry and consistent scoring.

BROCKWAY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 13-14, 5-5 AML South (2nd place; Lost to Elk County Catholic, 79-37, in AML Semifinals)/Beat Keystone, 46-42, in D9 2A Quarterfinals; Lost to Coudersport, 72-67, in D9 2A Semifinals; Beat Clarion, 60-53, in D9 2A Consolation Game; Lost to Bishop Guilfoyle, 78-47, in PIAA 2A First Round.
Head Coach: Rick Clark
Top Returning Players: Zane Puhala, Jon Wood, Alec Freemer
Key Newcomers: Brock Cramer, Marcus Copelli, Noah Adams
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Our five returning letterwinners from last season Puhala, Wood, Freemer and seniors Matthew Clark and Clayton Heckman need to lead our younger players. With those returning five players accounting for a third of the offense last year, they will all need to expand their roles in that area. A couple of keys will be how quickly our newcomers learn and gel with our veterans; we do not have a lot of size, so how well we are able to rebound will be a big key this season.

BROOKVILLE
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 14-10, 3-7 D9 League (4th place)/Beat Kane, 56-47, in D9 3A Semifinals; Lost to Karns City, 34-31, in D9 3A Finals
Head Coach: Dalton Park
Top Returning Players: Bryan Dworek, Trenton Gilhousen, Aaron Park
Key Newcomers: None
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Need players to accept their roles. Do what they do well and not try and do too much. Being able to compete eight to 10 deep.

CAMERON COUNTY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 17-8, 13-3 NTL (2nd place)/Beat Austin, 66-32, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Lost to Elk County Catholic, 46-25, in D9 1A Semifinals; Lost to North Clarion, 65-57, in D9 1A Consolation Game; Vincentian Academy, 60-53, in PIAA 1A First Round.
Head Coach: Mark Guido
Top Returning Players: Marcus Brown, Dino Brown, Caden Beldin
Key Newcomers: Jake Walters (Walters missed last year with an injury)
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Incorporate Jake back into the offense and leadership from captain Marcus Brown.

CLARION
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 17-8, 7-3 KSAC North (3rd place)/Beat Clarion-Limestone, 61-43, in D9 2A Quarterfinals; Lost to Ridgway, 44-24, in D9 2A Semifinals; Lost to Brockway, 60-53, in D9 2A Consolation Game;
Head Coach: Jess Quinn
Top Returning Players: Calvin German, Nick Frederick, Josh Craig
Key Newcomers: Gavin Brinkley, Jake Burns, Drew Wrhen
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Team Basketball. Our team will succeed if guys are comfortable with their role on the team. Archer Mills is a guy we can count on both offense and defense. If we have one main scorer we will lose. If we have many young men contribute, we will be successful.

CLARION-LIMESTONE
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 17-7, 9-1 KSAC North (1st place, Won KSAC Title by defeating Karns City, 51-32)/Lost to Clarion, 61-43, in D9 2A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Joe Ferguson
Top Returning Players: Deion Deas, Hayden Callen, Julian Laugand
Key Newcomers: Ayden Wiles. Curvin Goheen
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Without Ian Callen and Drew Beichner who have been injured all season so far, we are very short-handed depth wise. We have a nice mix of size with good guard play. We should be able to handle pressure okay but are going to have to be more methodical on offense versus running a lot. Also will have to play a lot more zone because of depth issues.

CLEARFIELD
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 15-10, 8-6 (Mountain League)/Beat St. Marys, 60-57, in D9 4A Semifinals; Beat Bradford, 42-36, in D9 4A Finals; Lost to South Fayette, 55-44, in PIAA 4A First Round.
Head Coach: Nate Glunt
Top Returning Players: Cade Walker, Taye Lynch, Keagan Hess
Key Newcomers: Karson Rumsky, Matt Pallo, Andrew Lopez
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have a lot of experience coming back but those players will be asked to handle different responsibilities from last year. We will need those players to go from role players to playmakers.

COUDERSPORT
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 24-4, 16-0 NTL (1st place)/Beat Curwensville, 71-46, in D9 2A Quarterfinals; Beat Brockway, 72-67, in D9 2A Semifinals; Beat Ridgway, 66-46, in D9 2A Finals; Beat Wilmington, 71-60, in PIAA 2A First Round, Lost to Our Lady of Sacred Heart, 74-66, in PIAA 2A Second Round.
Head Coach: Brian Furman
Top Returning Players: Owen Chambers, Dillion Keglovits, Hayden Keck
Key Newcomers: Travis Gleason, Kolby VanWhy, Daniel Frame
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Development of the young players and team chemistry. Senior Owen Chambers must take over as a leader.

CRANBERRY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 6-16, 3-7 KSAC North (4th place)/none
Head Coach: Pat Irwin
Top Returning Players: Brandon Forrest, Matt McQuaide, JT Stahlman
Key Newcomers: Cameron Russell, Zac Kiefer
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Compartmentalizing the ups and downs of the season as we are a young team. Developing the youth.

CURWENSVILLE
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 11-12, 4-6 AML South (3rd place)/Lost to Coudersport, 71-46, in D9 2A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Matt Wassill
Top Returning Players: Avery Francisco, Christian Bakaysa
Key Newcomers: Ty Terry, Trevor Lansberry
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have to take advantage of our size inside with two experienced big guys in Avery and Christian. In order for our offense to function, we must play through the post. Our guards then have to be able to make teams pay if they double team or collapse a zone. Defensively, we have the ability to rebound the ball really well with Avery being one of the best rebounders in District 9. Christian also allows us to stabilize the boards. We will need to make sure that opposing teams are taking tough contested shots so they can clean up the boards.

DUBOIS
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 10-12, 3-7 D9 League (6th place)/none
Head Coach: Dave Bennett (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Justin Manduley, Chase Husted, Jonathan Cruz
Key Newcomers: Lennin Lindholm, Alex Kovalyak, Nick Farrell
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We must play defense and rebound at a very high level. It is also important for us to control and dictate the tempo of the game. We are fortunate to have a strong and experienced senior class, so we will lean on them heavily for leadership.

DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 8-14, 3-7 AML South (4th place)/none
Head Coach: Dom Varacallo
Top Returning Players: Justin Miknis, Jonathan Kurtz, Josh Solinsky, Brandon Walker, Anthony Kness, Nick Felix
Key Newcomers: Sophomores
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Dictate the pace of play.

ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 22-7, 8-2 (D9 League), 9-1 (AML League; Beat Brockway, 79-37, in AML Semifinals; Lost to Ridgway, 48-37, in AML Title Game)/Beat Oswayo Valley, 69-24, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Beat Cameron County, 46-25 in D9 1A Semifinals; Lost to Johnsonburg, 36-30, in D9 1A Finals; Beat Jamestown, 66-40, in PIAA 1A First Round, Lost to Bishop Carroll, 57-54, in PIAA 1A Second Round.
Head Coach: Aaron Straub
Top Returning Players: Alex Breindel, Alec Wehler, Brady Schneider
Key Newcomers: Regis Wortman, Carter Lindemuth, Will Uberti
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Recover from our fall sports injuries … Get into a state of physical and mental conditioning that we can be the best for 32 minutes … Create offense from our defense and develop a rebounding/loose ball mentality.

FOREST AREA
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 4-18, 2-8 KSAC North (5th place)/none
Head Coach: Dan Miller
Top Returning Players: Jarrett Kahle, Franklin Meals
Key Newcomers: Luke Cousins, Seth Seidle
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We need to execute as a team and improve at the line.

GALETON (District 4 School playing in NTL)
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 9-14, 6-10 NTL (7th place)/Lost to Lourdes Regional, 66-40, in D4 1A Quarterfinals
Head Coach: Josh Shuemaker
Top Returning Players: Evan Brooks, Joel Griffen, Isaiah Shuemaker
Key Newcomers: Hunter Crowell, Noah Shutt
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Come and compete every night the league will be tough this year. Also play together as a team and apply the fundamentals of basketball.

JOHNSONBURG
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 19-8, 7-3 AML North (2nd place; Lost to Ridgway, 53-34, in AML Semifinals)/Beat Otto-Eldred, 42-30, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Beat North Clarion, 45-42, in D9 1A Semifinals; Beat Elk County Catholic, 36-30, in D9 1A Finals; Lost to Eden Christian, 38-28, in PIAA 1A First Round.
Head Coach: Bill Shuey
Top Returning Players: Nick Bliss, Isaac Scholder, Austin Green
Key Newcomers: Geno Gregori, Garrett Gregori, Gabe Watts
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Develop good chemistry and play team basketball. The younger players need to come of age quickly.

KANE
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 8-15, 2-8 AML North (3rd place)/Lost to Brookville, 56-47, in D9 3A Semifinals.
Head Coach: Caleb Landmesser (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Chad Greville, Alex Rezzelle, Austin Pierson
Key Newcomers: Cason Whiteman, Zuke Smith, Brennan Smith
Coach’s Keys to the Season: If everyone puts forth maximum effort, both physically and mentally. We have some young men in this program who dedicated themselves to improving their skill sets over this past offseason. Gameplan execution and a healthy respect for the game.

KARNS CITY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 17-8, 9-1 KSAC South (1st place; Lost to Clarion-Limestone, 51-32, in KSAC Title Game)/Beat Brookville, 34-31, in D9 3A Finals; Lost to Mercyhurst Prep, 78-47, in PIAA 3A First Round.
Head Coach: Chris Bellis
Top Returning Players: Chase Beighley, Austin Fahlor, Nathan Waltman
Key Newcomers: Ethan McElroy, Eric Pfeifer, Ty Belles
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Team defense and team defensive rebounding. We have some scorers returning but we need to replace the quality defensive players and rebounders that we lost to graduation.

KEYSTONE
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 16-7, 9-1 KSAC South (2nd place)/Lost to Brockway, 46-42, in D9 2A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Greg Heath
Top Returning Players: Max Thompson, Isaak Jones
Key Newcomers: Luke Hurrelbrink, Brooks LaVan, Connor Exley, Dawson Steele
Coach’s Keys to the Season: One of our strengths is our depth. All 12 players on the varsity roster will see time. This should be a strong defensive team. We have to have “go to guys” emerge on the offensive end. Finding the player combinations that work well together will be critical.

MONITEAU
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 7-15, 4-6 KSAC South (3rd place)/none
Head Coach: Mike Jewart (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Jared Lominski, Tyler McFadden, Ethan McDeavitt, Gage Neal
Key Newcomers: Bobby Matthews, Noah McLean, Nathan Tack
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Ethan and Gage will dictate how this season goes. They both started last year and have looked very good this year. Jared has taken a big step also and will do well cleaning up the boards. Tyler has really found his niche on the team and if he can continue to grow in it he will be a huge asset. After those four, we have zero experience at the varsity level, so our season will turn on how quickly we can find a fifth starter and how the younger kids develop.

NORTH CLARION
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 21-5, 8-2 KSAC North (2nd place)/Beat A-C Valley, 63-53, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Lost to Johnsonburg, 45-42, in D9 1A Semifinals; Beat Cameron County, 63-57, in D9 1A Consolation Game; Lost to Union-New Castle, 71-56, in PIAA 1A First Round.
Head Coach: Andy Bish
Top Returning Players: Kyle Mills, Logan Minich, Sam Minich
Key Newcomers: Korey Mills, Tyler McCord-Wolbert, Matson Higgins
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Play together as a team, play solid team defense, have balanced scoring, limit turnovers, have a fast start to the season.

NORTHERN POTTER
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 0-21, 0-16 NTL (9th place)/none
Head Coach: Derek Erway
Top Returning Players: Holden Cowburn, Tristan Byron, Foster Kosa
Key Newcomers: Tre Slawson, Ryan Langworthy, Anthony Benway
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Patience and discipline on offense running through the plays. Stopping the fast break and not allowing second-chance points. Controlling the tempo of the game and forcing turnovers.

OSWAYO VALLEY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 11-12, 7-9 NTL (6th place)/Lost to Elk County Catholic, 69-24, in D9 1A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Nick Goss (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Michael Welch, Noah Wichert, Camden Graves
Key Newcomers: Daytona Tilley, Carter Stedman
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Grow into a change in culture. As a team, we have to play better together, and as a team, we don’t have much varsity experience so the ability to adjust during a quarter of halfway through the season will be huge for us.

OTTO-ELDRED
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 15-8, 11-5 NTL (3rd place)/Lost to Johnsonburg, 42-30, in D9 1A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Dan Dalton
Top Returning Players: Andrew Sheeler, Cameron Grigsby, Cole Sebastian
Key Newcomers: Jake Merry, TJ VanScoter, Gavin Jimmerson
Coach’s Keys to the Season: After graduating four starters from last year, I’m looking for leadership from my lone returning starter Andrew Sheeler and senior Cameron Grigsby returning from a season-ending injury. We are looking to build chemistry with a solid group ofsSophomores and a couple of talented freshmen.

PORT ALLEGANY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 3-19, 2-14 NTL (8th place)/none
Head Coach: Jeff Stuckey
Top Returning Players: Howie Stuckey, Jordan Card, AJ Edgell
Key Newcomers: Collin Smith, Dominic Guerrero, Drew Benson
Coach’s Keys to the Season: As per the last couple of years with our lack of height, we will have to try and survive with speed and shooting threes.

PUNXSUTAWNEY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 11-12, 3-7 D9 League (5th place)/Lost to Bradford, 37-30, in D9 4A Semifinals.
Head Coach: Darrin Kriebel
Top Returning Players: Ethan Blose
Key Newcomers: Cam Smith, Cather Newcome, Matt Hooftallen
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Rely on returning Senior, Ethan Blose, for leadership and scoring. With no one taller than 6’3, rebounding will have to be a key necessity for us. We also plan to play an up-tempo style and utilizing players off the bench and attempting to go 9-10 players deep.

REDBANK VALLEY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 6-16, 3-7 KSAC South (5th place)/none
Head Coach: Emmanuel Marshall
Top Returning Players: Nick Smith, Keaton Kahle, Logan Wadding
Key Newcomers: Bryson Bain, Christopher Marshall
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Continue to play as a team and take advantage of mismatches when presented.

RIDGWAY
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 26-2, 10-0 AML South (1st place; Won AML Title by defeating Johnsonburg, 53-34, in AML Semifinals and Elk County Catholic, 48-37, in AML Title Game)/Beat Clarion, 44-24, in D9 2A Semifinals; Lost to Coudersport, 66-46, in D9 2A Finals; Beat North Penn-Mansfield, 55-42, in PIAA 2A First Round; Lost to Sewickley Academy, 44-41, in PIAA 2A Second Round.
Head Coach: Tony Allegretto
Top Returning Players: Daunte Allegretto, Matt Dush, Will Thompson
Key Newcomers: Zack Zameroski
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We lost most of our scoring from last season and a lot of senior leadership. Daunte will be expected to grow into the senior leader and to be a steadying force on the court. We will need to have the seniors and juniors all contribute on the offensive end.

ST. MARYS
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 12-11, 5-5 D9 League (3rd place)/Lost to Clearfield in D9 4A Semifinals.
Head Coach: Shad Boschert
Top Returning Players: Cahil Parrish, Nick Catalone
Key Newcomers: Mitch Reiter, Luke Lasko
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We are a very young team that does not have a lot of varsity experience. Some areas going into the season we feel are important are staying healthy, being in great shape, and developing role players off the bench. We will be a fairly small team, so rebounding and interior defense will be a team effort all year. We graduated over 40 ppg and return only one starter (Parrish) however I believe we will have a much more balanced attack this season. I think this group has a lot to prove and I am excited to get started and see what they can do.

SHEFFIELD
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 1-21, 0-10 AML North (4th place)/none
Head Coach: Mike Knapp
Top Returning Players: Tyler Hepinger, Walker Kyler, Mitch McNeal
Key Newcomers: Jacob Vinopal, Tony Richards, Alex Benjamin
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Health, we are younger and have fewer players than in past years. We lost two starters to off season injury already. We will be learning on the job. Keys are limiting turnovers, getting stronger, playing together while getting valuable experience.

SMETHPORT
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 12-10, 10-6 NTL (4th place)
Head Coach: Jay Acker
Top Returning Players: Caleb Lutz, Noah Costa, Eric Szarowicz
Key Newcomers: Brandon Peterson, Ian Woodruff, Connor Alfieri
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We are looking to bring an up-tempo style of basketball this year which differs from what we ran last season. We are going to use our senior leadership and experience to our advantage. Pressure defense is also going to play a big part in our game plans as well. If we use these styles and improve on our shooting percentage, we should have a very successful year.

UNION
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 6-16, 2-8 KSAC South (6th place)/none
Head Coach: Eric Mortimer
Top Returning Players: Nolan Cumberland, Luke Bowser, Truman Vereb, Karter Vogle
Key Newcomers: Quinitin Weaver, Tye Sapien, Caden Rainey, Layton Stewart, Corey Barger
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We are short on experience, so we need to get adjusted to the faster pace and better defense. Our defense has to be better than it was last year. Everyone on the team will need to be a scoring threat. We must shoot the ball better. We have good team speed. Our height is better this year. We have seven boys that are 6’ or taller.

VENANGO CATHOLIC
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 3-19, 1-9 KSAC North (6th place)/none
Head Coach: Mike McNellie
Top Returning Players: Ben Gillispie, Parker Slagle, Andrew Burda
Key Newcomers: Thomas Fink, Brady Cicatella, Reza Reese
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Push the ball with our speed … Being aggressive to get to the foul line and win both the rebounding and turnover battle.



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