With the D9Sports Tournament of Champions now in the second round, it’s time for the girls’ West Region.
(Photo the 2012 Bradford girls’ basketball team won the D9 3A championship. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
Advancing to the second round in the West were topped-seeded 2004 Coudersport, second-seeded 2017 North Clarion, No. 3 2012 Keystone, No. 5 2020 North Clarion, No. 6 2012 Bradford, No. 9 2010 West Forest, No. 10 2005 Punxsutawney, and No. 13 2008 St. Marys.
Here is how this works. You have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to vote for which team you think is the best in each matchup. At that point, the winners will advance into the Round of 16.
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(9) 2010 West Forest vs. (1) 2004 Coudersport
2010 West Forest beat 2011 Cranberry, 62 percent to 38 percent, to advance to the second round while 2004 Coudersport rolled past 2015 Punxsutawney, 76 percent to 24 percent.
West Forest, under the direction of Bob Wachob, went 23-5 in 2010 and lost to Elk County Catholic, 38-34, in the District 9 1A title game before bouncing back to beat Southern Fulton, 52-19, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. The Lady Indians fell to Vincentian Academy, 54-32, in the second round of the PIAA’s. West Forest was led by senior Geena Sneeringer, a first-team All-District 9 choice who averaged 19.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 5.7 steals and 3.0 assists per game and scored 2,030 career points, the most in school history. Also on that team was Alyssa Dreihaup (7.2 ppg), the daughter of current North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup, Amanda Carll (9.1 ppg), and Grace Wallace (8.0 ppg).
Matt Splain’s Coudersport team went 28-2 in 2004 beating Union, 53-31, in the D9 Class 1A title game before topping Saltsburg, 45-43, and Farrell, 51-39, in the PIAA playoffs to reach the quarterfinals where it lost to Monessen, 59-47. The Saltsburg game was won when Andrea Glassmire put back an offensive rebound off a missed free throw by Taisasha Brown with 1.1 seconds to play. Coudy rallied from a 37-32 fourth-quarter deficit to get the win. The 2004 Lady Falcons were led by first-team All-District 9 selections Glassmire (10.6 ppg) and Kellie Tingley (8.5 ppg) and second-team choices Maria Martin (9.8 ppg) and Brown (10.8 ppg). The team also featured sophomore Danielle Furman, who went on to be a 1,100-point scorer.[poll id=”442″]
(13) 2008 St. Marys vs. (5) 2020 North Clarion
2008 St. Marys upset 2016 Karns City, 52 percent to 48 percent, while 2020 North Clarion knocked off 2015 Karns City, 65 percent to 35 percent, to reach the second round.
St. Marys finished 22-4 in 2008 and beat Punxsutawney, 51-14, to win the District 9 title before losing to Indiana, 58-41, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. It was the Lady Dutch’s first D9 title since 1994. The Bob Swanson-led team was paced by sensational freshman Kayla Ho’ohuli, who was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-District 9 selection after averaging 21.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.2 steals, 5.0 assists and 3.8 blocks per game. Her 549 points that season are believed to be the second most by a District 9 freshman only to Sheana Mosch of DuBois Central Christian (now Catholic), and Ho’ohuli’s 21.7 ppg were actually more per game than Mosch averaged her freshman year on her way to becoming District 9’s all-time leading scorer with 3,066 career points. Ho’ohuli, who went on to start at NCAA D1 Canisius, finished her career third all-time in D9 history with 2,604 points. Additional key players in 2008 for the Lady Dutch were Mandy Stinchcomb (8.9 ppg) and Gina Pelgrin (8.8 ppg).
North Clarion under Terry Dreihaup was 26-1 in the COVID-19 virus put a halt to their season in the PIAA Quarterfinals. The She-Wolves lone loss came 42-40 to Coudersport in the District 9 Class 1A championship game stopping a string of three D9 titles in a row. North Clarion bounced back from that loss to beat Sewickley Academy, 47-36, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before knocking off defending state champion Berlin Brothersvalley, 62-43, in the second round. They were slated to play WPIAL champion Rochester in the quarterfinals when the PIAA suspended play. North Clarion was led by four seniors including Abby Gatesman, a Clarion University recruit, who was an all-state selection as a junior. Gatesman was averaging 14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 5.1 apg, and 3.1 spg while hitting 49 3-pointers when the stoppage occurred and had amassed 1,232 career points while being named the KSAC MVP. Mackenzie Bauer (11.6 ppg, 4.0 spg, 2.9 apg), Gabby Schmader (8.5 ppg, 2.6 apg, 2.2 spg, 32 3-pointers), and Haley Sherman (9.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 52.3 percent shooting) were the other three key seniors on the team.[poll id=”443″]
(6) 2012 Bradford vs. (3) 2012 Keystone
To reach the second round 2012 Bradford topped 2002 Karns City, 53 percent to 47 percent, while 2012 Keystone knocked off 2010 Elk County Catholic, 71 percent to 29 percent.
Bradford, under Ann Nuzzo, went from 7-18 in 2011 to 24-1 in 2012 and beat St. Marys, 58-39, to win the D9 3A title before falling to Blackhawk, 67-58, in the PIAA playoffs for its only loss of the year. Sophomore Ali Rinfrette (13.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 3.9 spg) was a first-team All-D9 selection for the Lady Owls, junior Kaserra Owens (13.7 ppg, 4.3 spg, 3.4 apg, 2.5 rpg) was a second-team All-D9 choice, and junior Alex Vinelli (10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) was a third-team selection. Rinfrette (1,201), who went on to star at NCAA D3 Pitt-Bradford, and Owens (1,018), who also went on to star at Pitt-Bradford and was the interim women’s basketball coach at the school in 2019-20, were both 1,000-point career scorers.
Keystone, under first-year head coach A.J. Johnson, went 26-2 in 2012 beating Clarion, 39-25, to win the D9 Class 2A title before topping Winchester Thurston, 74-33, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs and losing to North Catholic, 56-31, in the second round. The Lady Panthers only two losses came in the postseason with their first loss of the year coming to Cranberry, 57-53, in the KSAC title game after going 22-0 in the regular season. Keystone was led by A.J. Johnson’s two daughters, senior Morgan Johnson and freshman Madison Johnson, who both went on to successful college careers. Morgan (18.3 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 4.8 spg, 3.1 apg) was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year and finished her career with 1,606 points. She went on to play NCAA Division I basketball at Rhode Island. Madison (11.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.9 spg) was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Rookie of the Year and a third-team All-D9 selection. She went on to finish her career with 1,551 points and first played at NCAA D1 St. Francis before transferring to D2 Slippery Rock, where she scored over 800 career points.[poll id=”444″]
(10) 2005 Punxsutawney vs. (2) 2017 North Clarion
2005 Punxsutawney beat 2013 Bradford, 57 percent to 43 percent, and 2017 North Clarion topped 2018 Punxsutawney, 77 percent to 23 percent.
Punxsutawney in 2005 under Randy Reitz, now the Athletic Director at the school and the D9 basketball chairman, went 21-6 and beat St. Marys, 56-34, to win the D9 3A champion and then knocked off Blackhawk, 50-28, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing to Moon, 42-35, in the second round. The Lady Chucks were led by the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year – her second consecutive POY award – Staci Heberling (17.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.3 spg, 1.9 bpg), who was also named third-team All-State. She finished her career with a school-record 1,579 points and went on to score over 1,000 career points at NCAA D2 IUP. Samantha Reitz added 9.5 ppg for Punxsy that season.
North Clarion went 26-3 in 2017 and won the school’s first D9 girls’ basketball title by beating Otto-Eldred, 53-40, in the 1A championship game. The She-Wolves then dispatched Sewickley Academy, 57-38, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before beating Cornell, 68-58, in the second round and losing to Bishop Carroll, 58-49, in the quarterfinals. Tori Obenrader, a junior in 2017, won the first of her two D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year awards and was also named a first-team All-State selection in Class 1A after averaging 23.6 points, 15.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while recording double-doubles in 28 of North Clarion’s 29 games and shooting 51 percent from the field with 53 3-pointers. She set the school record for points in a game with 684 that season and had over 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds heading into her senior season. Obenrader, who just finished her sophomore season at D2 Gannon where she was named a first-team All-PSAC West player while earning the PSAC Tournament MVP award after leading the Golden Knights to the PSAC title, finished her career with a school-record 2,115 points and 1,560 rebounds. She-Wolves head coach Terry Dreihaup was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year. Cassie Wagner added 8.3 ppg for North Clarion in 2017.[poll id=”445″]