KITTANNING, Pa. – Seven District 9 basketball teams are still alive in the PIAA playoffs second round, which will be played at various sites Tuesday and Wednesday.
(Photos of Coudersport’ Haley Keck (left) and Owen Chambers (right) who lead their teams into second-round action. Photos by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
The Brookville and Coudersport girls and Elk County Catholic boys all play Tuesday, while the North Clarion and A-C Valley girls and Coudersport and Ridgway boys play Wednesday.
Here is a closer look at each of the games.
TUESDAY, MARCH 13
CLASS 1A BOYS
(9-2) Elk County Catholic (22-6) vs. (6-1) Bishop Carroll (18-8)
When and where: 7 p.m. at Punxsutawney High School
About ECC: The Crusaders are in the second round for the fourth straight season and the 15th time since 1999. They are 8-6 in the previous 14 trips to the second round since 1999 but only 2-5 in the last seven. One of those wins was last year when ECC beat Williamsburg, 76-48 … The Crusaders reached the second round with a 66-40 win over Jamestown that featured 22 points from Ryan Newton and 19 from Alex Breindel … Newton leads ECC in scoring at 17.6 ppg while Breindel adds 9.2 ppg. Breindel, though, is at 12.2 ppg in his last 10 contests. Logan Hoffman chips in 7.9 ppg.
About Bishop Carroll: The Huskies beat Imani Christian, 85-76, to reach the second round behind 21 points from Ben Eckenrode, which was nine points over Eckenrode’s season average of 11.9 ppg going into the game. Sophomore Tristan McDannell leads Bishop Carroll in scoring at 15.4 ppg, while Carson Ertter adds 8.7 ppg, 3.5 apg and 2.5 spg and Noah Burk, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, 7.7 ppg … Bishop Carroll is back in the PIAA playoffs after missing it for the first time in seven years a year ago. The Huskies made it to the second round in 2016 losing to Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic … Bishop Carroll reached the PIAA semifinals in 2014 losing to eventual champion Lincoln Park. The Huskies were also in the quarterfinals in 2013 losing to Lincoln Park … ECC will be just the eighth Class 1A team Bishop Carroll has played this year, and the Huskies are 7-0 vs. 1A teams winning every game by at least nine points.
Game notes: ECC and Bishop Carroll last met in the PIAA playoffs in 2015 when the Crusaders, as the third-place finisher out of D9, upset District 6 champion Bishop Carroll, 56-50 … The 2015 game was just the second all-time between these Catholic schools with the other one coming way back in 1973 when ECC won, 89-84, in the Pennsylvania Catholic Interscholastic Athletic Association semifinals, the final year ECC participated in the PCIAA before joining the PIAA the following season.
Winner gets: Winner of (7-1) Vincentian Academy vs. (5-1) Shade game Friday at a site and time to be determined.
CLASS 2A GIRLS
(9-1) Coudersport (22-3) vs. (10-2) Reynolds (15-10)
When and where: 7 p.m. at DuBois High School
About Coudersport: The Lady Falcons are in the second round of the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2011 after beating California, 50-23, Friday night. Coudersport is looking to advance to the round of eight for the first time since 2004 … Haley Keck, the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,484 career points, leads the way for the Lady Falcons averaging 20.1 ppg, while Shaelyn Black adds 14.8 ppg, freshman Sarah Chambers 9.0 ppg and EmmaRae Easton 8.2 ppg … Coudersport has won eight in a row and 21 of 22.
About Reynolds: The Lady Raiders beat Serra Catholic, 36-19, to reach the second round. It was the first-ever PIAA playoff win for Reynolds, which had never been to the PIAA tournament until last season … The Lady Raiders enter Tuesday’s game having won seven of eight … Reynolds averages just 38.3 points per game led by Rachel Cowan at 8.4 ppg. Elke D’Urso adds 7.0 ppg and Tess Cadman 6.4 ppg … Reynolds lost to A-C Valley, 39-22, earlier in the year.
Winner gets: Winner of (7-1) Vincentian Academy vs. (6-2) Blairsville Friday at a site and time to be determined.
CLASS 3A GIRLS
(9-1) Brookville (19-5) vs. (7-2) East Allegheny (25-1)
When and where: 5 p.m. at Armstrong High School in Kittanning
About Brookville: The Lady Raiders claimed their first PIAA playoff win since 1985 with a 53-46 victory over Northwestern Friday night. Brookville has never won two PIAA games in the same year … This is a young Lady Raiders squad without a senior on the roster and seven sophomores playing key roles … Brookville was just 6-16 last year … The Lady Raiders enters action Tuesday having gone 14-2 since Jan. 4 with the lone losses coming to D9 4A champion Punxsutawney … Brookville is about defense first with a full-court zone press utilized nearly exclusively … Offensively, the Lady Raiders do average 52.4 ppg but used a balanced group to get the job done. Marcy Schindler leads the way at 10.3 ppg, Morgan Johnson adds 10.0 ppg while her twin sister Madison Johnson chips in 7.9 ppg and Kira Powell, the daughter of head coach Mark Powell, 6.1 ppg. Schindler also adds 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.3 blocks per contest with Madison Johnson averaging 3.0 steals per game.
About East Allegheny: The Lady Wildcats were unbeaten until falling to Bishop Canevin, 56-52, in the WPIAL title game but rebounded from that loss to beat Central-Martinsburg, 54-28, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs … Senior Amani Johnson leads the way. The 5-foot-5 guard is headed to Kennesaw State next season and averages 25.6 ppg, 6.7 assists per game, 4.4 rebounds per game and 3.9 steals per game. Sophomore Amaia Johnson chips in 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 steals and 4.6 assists per contest, while Abby Henderson averages a double-double of 10.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Myla Bortoluzzi also scores 7.6 ppg … Last season, East Allegheny made it to the second round of the PIAA playoffs as the fourth-place team out of the WPIAL before losing to Bishop Canevin.
Winner gets: Winner of (3-2) York Catholic vs. (6-1) Penns Valley game Friday at a site and time to be determined.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14
CLASS 1A GIRLS
(9-1) North Clarion (27-0) vs. (10-2) Farrell (13-11)
When and where: 6 p.m. at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House
About North Clarion: The She-Wolves are in the second round of the PIAA tournament for the second straight year and are looking for a return trip to the quarterfinals … Dating back to last season, the She-Wolves have won 41 of their last 42 games with the lone loss being a 58-49 defeat to Bishop Carroll in the 2017 PIAA Class 1A quarterfinals … North Clarion advanced to the second round with a 54-46 win over Cornell Saturday … This is the third straight year the She-Wolves have been in the PIAA playoffs, as they lost to Kennedy Catholic as the D9 third-place team in 2016 … Senior Tori Obenrader, one of the best players in the state in Class 1A who is headed to Gannon next season, leads the way. Obenrader is the sixth player in D9 girls’ basketball history to score 2,000 career points and ranks fifth in D9 history with 2,091 career tallies. She has also grabbed 1,556 career rebounds. This season, she is averaging 24.2 points and 15.5 rebounds per game, both marks good for second in District 9, including 19 points and 18 rebounds in the win over Cornell, and she has scored 653 points, which leaves her 31 away from her school record of 684 set last season meaning she has netted 1,337 points in the last two season over a span of 56 games, an average of 23.9 points per game … Obenrader is joined by sophomore Abby Gatesman (10.6 ppg), who also had a double-double in the win over Cornell with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Additional key players for the She-Wolves include Gabby Carll (5.1 ppg), Gabby Schmader (5.0 ppg), Mackenzie Bauer (4.5 ppg), Haley Sherman (3.8 ppg) and Cierah Manross (3.3 ppg). All but Obenrader are underclassmen.
About Farrell: The Lady Steelers are in the second round for the first time since 2010 after knocking off the WPIAL runner-up West Greene, 67-63, Saturday … Farrell is just 2-3 in its past five games but its losses have come twice to D10 champion Kennedy Catholic, who is still playing, and once to bigger school Erie. In fact, among the Lady Steelers 11 losses are three to Kennedy Catholic, two to D10 2A champion West Middlesex, who is still playing and one to Reynolds, who is playing in the 2A second round as well – Farrell split with Reynolds … Three players average in double digits for Farrell led by Marissa Hopson at 16.7 points per game. Kyra Crosby adds 12.7 ppg and Mar’Nae Oatis 11.6 ppg.
Winner gets: Winner of (6-1) Juniata Valley vs. (5-1) Berlin Brothersvalley Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
(9-2) A-C Valley (21-6) vs. (10-1) Kennedy Catholic (19-5)
When and where: 7:30 p.m. at Slippery Rock’s Morrow Field House
About A-C Valley: The Lady Falcons made school history Saturday with their 54-48 overtime win over Sewickley Academy. It was the first PIAA playoff win for the A-C Valley girls … It’s been a strong season for A-C Valley with its six losses coming to unbeaten North Clarion (three times), D10 2A champion West Middlesex, which advanced into the second round of the PIAA playoffs, D9 4A champion Punxsutawney and D9 3A runner-up Karns City (in overtime) … A-C Valley has overcome the loss of point guard Olivia Boocks (9.8 ppg) to a season-ending injury in mid-January to win 12 of 15 without her with the three losses all coming to North Clarion by a combined total of 17 points including a combined total of five in the last two losses to the She-Wolves … A big reason for that is the school’s all-time leading scorer Ellie Thompson (1,510 career points). Thompson is just the 17th player in KSAC history to score 1,500 career points. On the year, Thompson averages 19.6 ppg while Cami McNany adds 9.3 ppg and Kylee Eaton 9.0 ppg. Every player that sees minutes has risen their game since the Boocks injury with Thompson averaging 20.3 ppg, McNany 11.0 ppg, Eaton 9.8 ppg, Annie Viertel 5.3 ppg, Brooke Irwin 4.9 ppg, Allison Sherman 2.3 ppg and Emma Fox 1.4 ppg. Viertel is at 5.1 ppg on the season, Irwin 4.1 ppg, Sherman 1.9 ppg and Fox 0.9 ppg.
About Kennedy Catholic: The Lady Eagles have won 13 of 14 heading into play Wednesday night with the lone loss to Mohawk, 67-51. They beat Portage, 66-34, in the first round Saturday … Kennedy Catholic went the final eight last year before losing to eventual runner-up Juniata Valley, 42-32. It was the Lady Eagles sixth straight trip to the quarterfinals. The last time Kennedy Catholic failed to make the 1A quarterfinals was in 2011 when it lost to Homer-Center, 49-44, in the second round. The Lady Eagles haven’t been past the quarterfinals, though, since 2005 when they made it to the semifinals … Sophomore Malia Magestro leads Kennedy Catholic at 21.3 ppg while 6-foot senior Sophia Berardi adds 9.5 ppg and 6-foot senior Caitlyn Figuly 8.8 ppg.
Winner gets: Winner of (7-1) Winchester Thurston vs. (6-2) Bishop Carroll Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
CLASS 2A BOYS
(9-1) Coudersport (23-3) vs. (7-2) Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (23-3)
When and where: 7 p.m. at Brookville High School
About Coudersport: The Falcons are in the second round in 2A for the second straight year having lost to Greensburg Central Catholic, 72-63, last year. Coudersport also was in the 1A second round two years ago falling to eventual champion Kennedy Catholic. The Falcons are looking for their first trip to the quarterfinals since 2008 when they lost to Kennedy Catholic in the 1A quarterfinals … A pair of 1,000-point scorers lead Coudersport. Senior Jared Green has 1,507 career points and junior Owen Chambers checks in at 1,412 career tallies. On the year, Chambers leads the Falcons averaging 24.8 ppg with Green adding 16.7 ppg. Hunter Ricke contributes 11.4 ppg, Derek Keglovits 7.8 ppg and Hayden Keck 5.6 ppg.
About OLSH: The Chargers only two losses since a season-opening defeat to Seton LaSalle have come against Sewickley Academy, including a 63-59 setback in the WPIAL title game. OLSH rebounded to beat Homer-Center, 81-62, in the PIAA first round Saturday … The Chargers were also the WPIAL runner-ups last year and advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals … Top players for OLSH are Donovan Johnson (19.3 ppg at the end of the regular season) and Daren DiMichele (17.3 ppg at the end of the regular season). Johnson is a 6-foot-6 sophomore who already has an offer from Duquesne. He is the younger brother of North Carolina’s Cam Johnson, who started his career at Pitt before transferring to NC this year. His other older brother, Aaron Johnson, played at Clarion University, and his father, Gil Johnson, played at Pitt.
Winner gets: Winner of (10-1) West Middlesex vs. (5-2) Conemaugh Township Saturday at a site and time to be determined.
(9-2) Ridgway (26-1) vs. (7-1) Sewickley Academy (22-4)
When and where: 6 p.m. at Armstrong High School
About Ridgway: The Elkers rebounded from their first loss of the season in the D9 title game to Coudersport to knock off North Penn-Mansfield, 55-42, in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs … Ridgway likes a slower-style of play averaging 52.5 ppg while allowing 34.5 ppg … The Elkers went to the quarterfinals a year ago on the eastern side of the bracket as the D9 third-place team knocking off North Penn-Mansfield and Berlin Brothersvalley before losing to eventual runner-up Constitution … Neil MacDonald leads the way for Ridgway averaging 11.7 ppg with Johnny Mitchell adding 10.2 ppg, Andy Breier 10.1 ppg and Daunter Allegretto 7.8 ppg.
About Sewickley Academy: The Panthers are the defending PIAA Class 2A champions having beaten Constitution, 68-63 in overtime, in last year’s title game. In 2016, Sewickley Academy lost in the 1A semifinals to Kennedy Catholic. The Panthers also won 1A state titles in 2010 and 1997 and was the 1A runner-up in 2004 after beating Johnsonburg in the semifinals … Sewickley’s losses have come to OLSH, Mars, Kennedy Catholic and Lincoln Park … The Panthers like to score averaging 70.9 ppg while scoring 80 or more 10 times, including in the PIAA first-round win over Cochranton, 83-33, while topping 90 three times … Jett Roesing (15.8 ppg through end of regular season) and Isiah Warfield (15.5 ppg through end of regular season) led the way for Sewickley Academy.
Winner gets: Winner of (10-2) Cambridge Springs vs. (7-4) Jeannette game Saturday at a site and time to be announced.