CLARION, Pa. – Six District 9 basketball championships – three in boys and three in girls – will be decided Friday and Saturday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.
Action gets underway Friday with a pair of Class 3A title games between Karns City and Brookville with the girls’ game at 5 p.m. and the boys’ game at 6:30 p.m. (There is also a 2A boys’ consolation game between Brockway and Clarion at 8 p.m. Friday at Tippin).
Things then really heat up on Saturday with four championship games including North Clarion battling A-C Valley in the Class 1A girls’ tilt at 1 p.m., Elk County Catholic and Johnsonburg coming together for the Class 1A boys’ championship at 3 p.m., Kane and Coudersport meeting for the Class 2A girls’ title at 5 p.m. and Ridgway and Coudersport squaring off for the medals in Class 2A boys at 7 p.m.
The theme of Saturday is rematch Saturday with this being at least the second meeting of the season between all the title contestants and in the case of North Clarion and A-C Valley and ECC and Johnsonburg the third time they have met this year.
Also, the Class 1A boys’ championship game and the Class 2A girls’ title game are rematches of last year’s championship games won by ECC and Coudersport respectively, while North Clarion beat A-C Valley in last year’s girls’ 1A semifinals and then again in the KSAC Title Game two weeks ago.
In addition to the games at Tippin Gym, a pair of consolation contests in Class 1A will take place at Kane High School Friday with Otto-Eldred pairing off against ECC in the girls’ game at 6 p.m. and North Clarion taking on Cameron County in the boys’ game at 7:30 p.m.
All the above mentioned teams with the exception of the Clarion/Brockway loser advance to the PIAA playoffs as do the Keystone girls, who won the Class 2A consolation game over Cranberry Thursday, the Punxsutawney girls, who won the Class 4A title over St. Marys Wednesday and the Clearfield boys, who won the Class 4A title over Bradford Wednesday.
Here is a quicker look at the four title games Friday and Saturday.
GAMES FRIDAY, MARCH 2
Girls’ Class 3A Championship Game
(3) Karns City (12-10) vs. (1) Brookville (17-5)
When and where: 5 p.m. at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium
Players to Watch: Karns City – Emily Hegedus (25.6 ppg, 1,706 career points), Livia Andreassi (8.5 ppg), Alyssa Stitt (6.7 ppg). Brookville – Marcy Schindler (10.4 ppg), Morgan Johnson (9.7 ppg), Madison Johnson (7.8 ppg).
Game Notes: It’ll be a Karns City team looking for a fifth straight championship against a senior-less Brookville squad coming off a 6-16 season a year ago … The Lady Gremlins feature all-time leading scorer Emily Hegedus, with over 1,700 points, scoring over half of the team’s points. Hegedus is the leading scorer in District 9. Meanwhile, the Lady Raiders have four players scoring between 6.2 and 10.4 points per game … While Brookville will play for the first time in 15 days Friday, the Lady Gremlins beat Moniteau (40-32) after losing twice to their KSAC South Division rivals during the season in the semifinals last week. It was their second straight win after losing four of five games down the final stretch of the regular season … It’s an 11-game turnaround for head coach Mark Powell’s team that has six sophomores and three juniors in its playing rotation. Powell has 199 career coaching wins … Brookville is trying to win its first playoff game since beating Kane for the Class 2A title in 2013. It lost to Karns City in the quarterfinals of the 2014 playoffs and the Lady Gremlins went on to win and end a five-year championship drought while beginning their current streak
Boys’ Class 3A Championship Game
(2) Brookville (14-9) vs. (1) Karns City (16-7)
When and where: 6:30 p.m. at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium
Players to Watch: Brookville – Aaron Park (13.0 ppg), Bryan Dworek (9.7 ppg), Trenton Gilhousen (8.7 ppg). Karns City – Chase Beighley (13.9 ppg), Austin Fahlor (11.7 ppg), Nolan Riley (8.1 ppg).
Game Notes: It’s a rematch of last year’s 3A final where Karns City beat Brookville, 56-51, for the Gremlins’ first championship in 12 years. Three Gremlins saw significant playing time in that game with Fahlor, Riley and Jacob Friel (7.7 ppg) while Aaron Park and Bryan Dworek started for the Raiders. Park left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury when the Raiders were up eight points … This time around, the Gremlins are led in scoring by the freshman guard Chase Beighley … The Raiders advanced to the final with a 56-47 win over Kane last Friday … The Gremlins have been off since losing to Clarion-Limestone (51-32) in the KSAC Championship game also at Tippin just two days after beating the Lions at home by 12 points … The Raiders’ last title was 2014 in a win over Redbank Valley. Last year’s semifinal win over Kane was their first playoff win since 2014. … The Raiders and Gremlins are meeting for the third time in a D9 title game. The first one was back in the Class 2A final in 1976 won by the Raiders, 50-46. The only other time the similar-sized schools have met in the playoffs was the 2014 Class 2A semifinals when the Raiders beat the Gremlins at CUP, 37-34.
GAMES SATURDAY, MARCH 2
Girls’ Class 1A Championship Game
(3) A-C Valley (20-5) vs. (1) North Clarion (25-0)
When and where: 1 p.m. at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym
Players to Watch: A-C Valley – Ellie Thompson (19.4 ppg, 1,467 career points), Kylee Eaton (9.4 ppg), Cami McNany (9.3 ppg). North Clarion – Tori Obenrader (24.3 ppg, 15.5 rpg, 2,046 career points, 1,525 career rebounds), Abby Gatesman (10.4 ppg), Gabby Carll (5.2 ppg), Gabby Schmader (5.1 ppg).
Game Notes: This is the third meeting this season between these KSAC rivals and the second in two weeks. North Clarion has won both meetings taking home a 54-49 win in the KSAC Title Game Feb. 16 at Tippin and a 43-34 win at North Clarion Jan. 19. It is also the sixth meeting between the teams in the last two years. Last year, the She-Wolves were 2-1 vs. A-C Valley, including a 57-50 win in the D9 1A semifinals … A-C Valley was the last District 9 team to beat North Clarion doing so 65-64 Jan. 20, 2017. Since then, the She-Wolves are 35-0 against District 9 teams and 39-1 overall … This is A-C Valley’s first-ever trip to the District 9 title game, while North Clarion is making its third having won its first-ever title game year … North Clarion is trying to become just the second District 9 team to win a D9 title while going unbeaten since at least the 1995-96 season (as far back as our current records go) and the first to do it in Class 1A. Bradford accomplished the feat in Class 3A in 2012 … A-C Valley’s five losses have all come to teams who are either district champions or in a district title game – twice to North Clarion, once to Punxsutawney (D9 4A champion), Karns City (D9 3A finalist) and West Middlesex (D10 finalist) … A-C Valley reached the title game by beating Otto-Eldred, while North Clarion topped Elk County Catholic … Obenrader is the fifth all-time leading scorer in D9 history and is second in D9 in both scoring and rebounding this year.
Boys’ Class 1A Championship Game
(4) Johnsonburg (18-7) vs. (2) Elk County Catholic (21-5)
When and where: 3 p.m. at Clarion University
Players to Watch: Johnsonburg – Austin Green (11.3 ppg), Kacey Raubenstrauch (9.4 ppg), Ben Freeburg (5.9 ppg), Tyler Singer (5.8 ppg). ECC – Ryan Newton (17.6 ppg), Alex Breindl (9.0 ppg), Logan Hoffman (8.0 ppg).
Game Notes: This is the third meeting of the year between these Elk County rivals with ECC taking both of the regular-season meetings. The Crusaders won 55-38 in their season opener Dec. 12 and then 43-36 Jan. 26 … This is a rematch of last year’s championship game won by ECC, 62-44 … That was the Crusaders second straight D9 1A titles and its fourth in the last decade … Johnsonburg last won a D9 title in 2013 when it beat Ridgway on its way to the PIAA 1A title game … ECC head coach Aaron Straub won his 800th game as the Crusaders boys’ coach earlier this season … Amazingly, ECC is playing outside of the city limits of St. Marys for just the 11th time this season and outside of Elk County for just the 10th time. In fact, 20 of ECC’s 26 games so far have been played in either the city limits of St. Marys, Bradford or DuBois … Johnsonburg reached the title game by beating top-seeded North Clarion, while ECC knocked off Cameron County to reach the championship … ECC last won three titles in a row when it took home four straight in Class 1A between 2004 and 2007 … Johnsonburg is 0-4 all-time in D9 title games vs. ECC and 3-11 all-time in title games also winning championships in 1983 (1A) and 1953 (Class B).
Girls’ Class 2A Championship Game
(2) Coudersport (20-3) vs. (1) Kane (24-1)
When and where: 5 p.m. at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym
Players to Watch: Coudersport – Haley Keck (20.4 ppg, 1,452 career points), Shaelyn Black (15.0 ppg), Sarah Chambers (9.4 ppg), EmmaRae Easton (8.0 ppg). Kane – Ella Marconi (15.6 ppg, 1,051 career points), Trinity Clark (11.9 ppg, 1,180 career points), Rachael Morgan (9.8 ppg), Hannah Buhl (7.0 ppg).
Game Notes: This is a rematch of last year’s championship game won by Coudersport, 47-38. It was the Lady Falcons first title since winning in 1A in 2011 … Kane has never won a D9 title. The Lady Wolves are 0-6 in title games with four of those losses – two to Cranberry and one each to Coudersport and Brookville – coming since 2009 … This is the second meeting of the year between these squads. Kane won 45-42 at Coudersport way back on Dec. 9 in the Coudersport Tournament … Kane’s lone loss this year came at its Christmas Tournament to unbeaten North Clarion, 61-49, in a game the Lady Wolves led in the fourth quarter. Since that loss, Kane has rolled off 20 straight wins including a victory over Keystone in the semifinals … Coudersport, which is looking for back-to-back titles for the first time since winning four in a row from 2001-04, reached the championship game by topping Cranberry … The Lady Falcons are 19-1 since starting the season 1-2 under first-year head coach Brian Green, who is in his second stint leading the Coudersport girls program … Keck is the second all-time leading scorer in Coudy history behind 2,000-point scorer Kim Tingley (2,905), who is the second-leading all-time scorer in District 9 history … Clark is six points shy of becoming Kane’s all-time leading scorer. The senior needs five points to tie the school mark held by Kaila Jamerson, who graduated in 2013. If Clark sets the record, it most likely won’t last very long with Marconi being only a junior and already being over 1,000 points.
Boys’ Class 2A Championship Game
(2) Coudersport (21-3) vs. (1) Ridgway (25-0)
When and where: 7 p.m. at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym
Players to Watch: Coudersport – Owen Chambers (24.7 ppg, 1,360 career points), Jared Green (17.6 ppg, 1,496 career points), Hunter Ricke (11.0 ppg), Derek Keglovits (7.9 ppg). Ridgway – Neil MacDonald (11.6 ppg), Andy Breier (10.4 ppg), Johnny Mitchell (10.0 ppg), Daunte Allegretto (7.9 ppg).
Game Notes: This game has been anticipated since before the season started and many thought it could have been last year’s title game before Ridgway was upset by Brockway in the semifinals. Coudersport went on to win the title, its first since 2008 in Class 1A … Ridgway is in the championship game for the first time since winning the 1A title in 2014 … The teams met in a sold out Ridgway High School Gym Feb. 3 with the Elkers pulling out a 59-57 win. That was one of two losses in its final six regular-season games for Coudersport, which started the year 15-1 with the lone loss up to the Ridgway game being at Johnsonburg … The score of the first meeting was more to Coudersport’s liking in terms of the number with the Falcons averaging 77.1 ppg to Ridgway’s 52.6. But Coudy also gives up 42.8 ppg while Ridgway has given up a District 9-leading 33.0 ppg including just 24 in a semifinal win over Clarion … Coudersport has the fourth (Green) and fifth (Chambers) all-time leading scorers in school history. This is the third straight D9 championship game for the Falcons, who lost to ECC in the 1A game in 2016. It’s the first time in school history Coudersport has been to the title game in three straight years, and the Falcons are looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time since 1951 and 1952 in Class C when they beat Karns City (‘51) and St. Petersburg (‘52) … Despite Coudersport making its 14th all-time trip to the D9 title game and Ridgway making its 13th, the teams have never played each other for a D9 title before this year.