Three District 9 teams look to punch their tickets to the PIAA semifinals this weekend with Kane and A-C Valley playing in the girls’ 2A quarterfinals Friday night and Ridgway playing in the boys’ 2a quarterfinals Saturday afternoon.
(Photo of Kane’s Hannah Buhl (left), Ridgway’s Will Thompson (center), A-C Valley’s Olivia Boocks (right). Buhl photo by Tessa Boschet, Thompson photo by Paul Burdick, Boocks photo by Cynthia Cullen Rapp )
CLASS 2A GIRLS
(9-1) KANE VS. (10-1) WEST MIDDLESEX
When and Where: 7 p.m. Friday, March 15, at Franklin High School
Winner Gets: Winner of game between (9-2) A-C Valley and (5-1) Everett, which is being played at 6 p.m. March 15 at Hempfield High School, in the semifinals Monday, March 18, at a site and time to be announced.
Records: Kane 25-3; West Middlesex (24-3)
How They Got Here: Kane won the District 9 title and then beat (10-4) Saegertown, 45-29, in the PIAA first round and (7-2) Brentwood, 52-47, in the second round; West Middlesex won the District 10 title and then beat (7-6) Winchester Thurston,60-19, in the PIAA first round before topping (6-2) Juniata Valley, who went to back-to-back PIAA 1A title games in 2017 and 2018, 50-46, in the second round.
Kane Leading Scorers: Ella Marconi (23.3 ppg), Hannah Buhl (9.6 ppg), Emily Bucheit (8.0 ppg)
West Middlesex Leading Scorers: MaKennah White (21.6 ppg), Emily Anthony (9.2 ppg), Grace Mild (8.6 ppg), Karsyn Rupert (7.8 ppg), Taylor Tomko (7.0 ppg), Carlie Beatty (5.9 ppg)
Notes: West Middlesex, which is making its first trip to the quarterfinals, is on a five-game win streak after losing two in a row Feb. 9 and Feb. 14 to Blackhawk and Villa Maria. Both of those teams are 4A teams that advanced to at least the second round of the PIAA playoffs with Villa Maria now in the quarterfinals … Last season the Big Red advanced to the second round of the PIAA Tournament before losing to eventual state champion Bellwood-Antis, 70-53. It was the third straight year West Middlesex, who has won four straight D10 titles and has been to the PIAA playoffs in five straight seasons, lost in the second round …. White, a 6-foot junior, was a third-team 2A all-state player last year for the Big Red and has scored 1,282 after a 19-point output in the win over Juniata Valley. She is receiving Division I interest … West Middlesex can tie its program win record with a victory. The Big Red had 25 wins in 2016 … West Middlesex head coach Mike Williams coached boys basketball at A-C Valley in the mid-1990s … Kane is in the quarterfinals for the first time in school history after never winning a PIAA playoff game until last week … The Lady Wolves have won 20 in a row since a 54-46 loss to North Clarion in the championship game of their Christmas Tournament Dec. 28 … Marconi, a 6-2 senior, who was a second-team All-State player as a junior in 2A, has attracted some college looks (D2 and D3) as well but hasn’t made a decision. She has scored 1,723 career points and is the school’s all-time leading scorer while leading District 9 this season at 23.3 ppg. She had 29 in the win over Brentwood … This is the first Kane basketball team – boys or girls – to win two PIAA playoff games in the same year since the 1949 boys’ team won the PIAA Class B championship … Kane head coach Dave Kiehl has missed the past three games after suffering a heart attack immediately following the Lady Wolves D9 semifinal win over Clarion. Kiehl is recovering nicely and assistant coach Kerry Wolbert, a former head coach at East Forest, is the acting head coach while Kiehl’s daughter, Stacy Hastings, has come on board as an assistant. Hastings was the head coach before giving the job up to her dad about a decade ago … Kane is trying to become the first D9 girls’ team to reach the semifinals in any classification since Union in 2006 and the first in 2A since Karns City won the PIAA title in 2000.
(9-2) A-C VALLEY VS. (5-1) EVERETT
When and Where: 6 p.m. Friday, March 15, at Hempfield High School
Winner Gets: Winner of game between (9-1) Kane and (10-1) West Middlesex, which is being played at 7 p.m. March 15 at Franklin High School, in the semifinals Monday, March 15, at a site and time to be announced.
Records: A-C Valley 22-4; Everett (23-3)
How They Got Here: A-C Valley lost to Kane in the District 9 title game then beat (10-3) Cambridge Springs, 47-43, in the PIAA first round and WPIAL champion OLSH, 35-33 in overtime; Everett won the
A-C Valley Leading Scorers: Olivia Boocks (13.1 ppg), Cami McNany (12.4 ppg), Kylee Eaton (11.8 ppg)
Everett Leading Scorers: Kaitlyn Maxwell (24.0 ppg), Madison Hicks (12.8 ppg), Brooke Colledge (8.0 ppg)
Notes: Everett won the 2A title in District 5 this season after winning the 2017 and 2018 3A titles in District 5. The Warriors advanced to the 3A second round a year ago … Everett is tied for the largest 2A school in the state with a female enrollment of 144, while A-C Valley is in the middle of the pack with 101 … Boocks is being recruited heavily by NCAA Division II Clarion University and was the KSAC MVP after missing half of last season, including all of the postseason, with a knee injury, If not for the injury, she would have been a 1,000-point career scorer as she has unofficially 929 career tallies despite missing 16 games a year ago … A-C Valley had never won a PIAA playoff game until winning a first-round game in Class 1A a year ago … The Lady Falcons are the first hoops teams – boys or girls – from the school to reach the quarterfinals since the boys did so in 1984 … Head coach Dave Sherman won his 100th game as A-C Valley’s head man with the victory over OLSH Tuesday … Eaton recorded her 800th career point (she is unofficially at exactly 800) when she had eight points to go with 15 rebounds in the win over OLSH, while McNany (816 unofficially) is also over 800 points in her career … These teams are similar in the fact that A-C Valley’s top three scorers – Boocks, McNany and Eaton score 74.0 percent of the Lady Falcons’ points, while Everett’s top three of Maxwell, Hicks and Collegde score 78.0 percent of the Warriors’ points … A-C Valley is trying to become the first D9 girls’ team to reach the semifinals in any classification since Union in 2006 and the first in 2A since Karns City won the PIAA title in 2000. That Karns City team beat Everett, 48-34, in a second-round game played at Gateway High School.
CLASS 2A BOYS
(9-1) RIDGWAY VS. (7-1) OUR LADY OF SACRED HEART (OLSH)
When and Where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Oil City High School
Winner Gets: Winner of game between (10-1) Farrell vs. (6-1) Bishop Guilfoyle, which is being played at 1:30 p.m. March 16 at Kiski Area High School, in the semifinals Tuesday, March 19, at a site and time to be announced.
Records: Ridgway 26-3; OLSH 24-2
How They Got Here: Ridgway won the District 9 title and then beat (7-4) Sewickley Academy, 60-51, in the PIAA first round and (10-2) Wilmington, 38-36, in the second round; OLSH won the WPIAL title then beat (10-4) West Middlesex, 62-43, in the PIAA first round and (10-3) Lakeview, 77-36, in the second round.
Ridgway Leading Scorers: Jake Reynolds (11.3 ppg), Will Thompson (11.1 ppg), Matt Dush (9.3 ppg), Daunte Allegretto (9.1 ppg), Zack Zameroski (7.3 ppg)
OLSH Leading Scorers: Daren DiMichele (17.8 ppg; 22 points in the second-round win), Austin Wigley (16.1 ppg), Jake DiMichele (15.4 ppg; 11 points in the second-round win), Dante Spadaford (13.9 ppg; 15 points in the second-round win)
Notes: These teams are a contradiction in styles. OLSH averages 74.7 ppg, the second most in the entire WPIAL and the most in Class 2A while giving up 50.1 ppg. Ridgway averages 54.0 points per game while allowing a District 9-leading 37.6 ppg, which would have easily led the WPIAL, whose leader gave up 45.6 ppg … OLSH, who finished second in the WPIAL in both 2017 and 2018 finally broke through this season with a win over Serra Catholic … OLSH is in the PIAA quarterfinals for the second time in three years having lost to Bishop Canevin in 2A in 2017. That was the first time the Chargers ever reached the quarterfinals … Ridgway in is in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years as well having lost to Constitution in the 2017 quarterfinals on the Eastern side of the bracket. The Elkers have been to the quarterfinals two other times making it in 2012 in 1A as well advancing to the semifinals that season … Ridgway is trying to become the first District 9 boys’ team to reach the semifinals since Johnsonburg advanced to the title game in Class 1A in 2013.