Here are the preview capsules for the 2018-19 District 9 basketball season, which begins Friday, Dec. 7.
(Photo of North Clarion’s Abby Gatesman. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 21-7, 9-1 KSAC South (1st place; Lost to North Clarion, 54-49, in KSAC Title Game)/Beat Johnsonburg, 51-42, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Beat Otto-Eldred, 56-52, in D9 1A Semifinals; Lost to North Clarion, 52-49, in D9 1A Finals; Beat Sewickley Academy, 54-48, in PIAA First Round, Lost to Kennedy Catholic, 58-47, in PIAA Second Round.
Head Coach: Dave Sherman
Top Returning Players: Kylee Eaton, Olivia Boocks, Cami McNany
Key Newcomers: Emily Wetzel, Rachel Cullen, Andrea Meals
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have to stay out of foul trouble. We need to be disciplined on D and not commit silly fouls and take too many unnecessary chances. Hopefully, the rest of the girls will continue to develop and learn our system thus providing us with more depth and the ability to steal some minutes for the starters. However, these five are freshmen. It is going to take them some time. The sooner the better! The seniors are playing well, are very talented and very experienced. This is a huge strength for us. They were all named all-conference last season. The other three varsity players are also skilled and complement the experienced players and are working well as a unit. Also, at this point, it is critical that we continue to improve our conditioning. We plan to play up-tempo and extend the floor on D. With our short bench, we need to be in excellent shape. Must replace all-time leading scorer Ellie Thompson.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 0-21, 0-16 NTL (9th place)/none
Head Coach: Denise Valenti (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Cerissa Glover, Angie Watson, Julia Latimore
Key Newcomers: Taylor Brewer, Kendra Valenti
Coach’s Keys to the Season: I expect a lot of our three returning seniors. We are going to rely on them for leadership and experience. Two key additions to our team are Kendra Valenti and Taylor Brewer; they will log a lot of minutes and be crucial parts of the team. We hope to have a solid five on the court and develop our younger players, Jordan, Kylie, Ally and Carly, to give us concrete minutes.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 2-20, 0-10 D9 League (6th place)/none
Head Coach: Bob Hannon
Top Returning Players: Erica Marshall, Hannay Lary
Key Newcomers: Kelci Moffett
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Keys to the season will be our guard play. We need to get consistent play from the combination of Erica, Hannah and Kate Huber. Mackenzie Maley and Morgan Tyger may be the determining factor in how successful we can be. These two will be expected to contribute defensively and scoring more than they have in the past. I am confident we will get production from Erica and Hannah so the rest of the girls stepping up is the key.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 10-13, 5-5 AML North (3rd place)/Lost to Otto-Eldred, 54-32, in D9 1A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Dick Esposito
Top Returning Players: Maggie Schmader, Macie Smith, Morgan Lindemuth
Key Newcomers: Freshman class
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have some very talented freshmen yet very unproven. It will be very difficult to replace our School’s No. 3 and No. 5 scorers in team history in Leah Lindemuth (1,090) and Kaitlyn Morelli (905), but we look forward to a learning season with improvements with each game we play with a very difficult schedule.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 19-6, 6-4 D9 League (2nd place)/Beat Karns City, 46-39, in D9 3A Finals; Beat Northwestern, 53-46, in PIAA 3A First Round; Lost to East Allegany, 60-34, in PIAA 3A Second Round.
Head Coach: Mark Powell
Top Returning Players: Marcy Schindler, Morgan Johnson, Madison Johnson
Key Newcomers: None
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Our key this season will be to “finish”. I felt last year we didn’t take advantage of the turnovers that we caused and left points out on the floor. We need to convert on a higher percentage of the turnovers we cause.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 10-13, 10-6 NTL (4th place)/Lost to DuBois Central Catholic, 48-42, in D9 1A First Round.
Head Coach: Dave Sullivan
Top Returning Players: Alyvia McKimm, Kamme Guisto, Laila Smith, Kaelee Bresslin
Key Newcomers: Hailey Hilfiger
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Senior leadership; we return an experienced team. How well that
experience leads to strong play and confidence will depend upon our three returning senior starters. Sophomore class; Kaelee Bresslin returns as a starter, and Hailey Hilfiger, Mallory McKimm, Morgan Lorenzo and Reggie Goodrow all return with significant varsity playing time from last season. All will need to increase their contributions if we’re to be successful.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 9-14, 5-3 KSAC North (3rd place)/Lost to Cranberry, 51-48, in D9 2A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Roger Walter (1st season back after a few years off)
Top Returning Players: Wendy Beveridge, Kait Constantino, KK Girvan
Key Newcomers: Jordan Best, Payton Simko, Eva Lerch
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Control the tempo of the game. Our team is built with very athletic players and lots of speed, but we need to realize when to utilize these talents. There are times that we will push and run and gun and times that we must realize patience and control is a better weapon. Rebounding and team mentality. With talented scorers returning I am asking the girls to accept my team approach to offense. We cannot stand around and watch what others are doing. We must move with continuity and crash when a shot goes up.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 1-21, 1-7 KSAC North (5th place)/none
Head Coach: Gus Simpson
Top Returning Players: Anna Burns, Maddy Craig, Anna Kennemuth
Key Newcomers: Emma Smith, Janelle Pezzuti
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Our defense is how we need to score. We have a lot of hard-working girls for us, and we need them all.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 8-15, 5-9 Mountain League/Lost to St. Marys, 46-38, in D9 4A Semifinals.
Head Coach: Joey Castagnolo
Top Returning Players: Alayna Ryan
Key Newcomers: Faith Ogden, Emma Hipps
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Very young athletic team which should get better as season rolls along.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 22-4, 15-1 NTL (1st place)/Beat Cranberry, 51-41, in D9 2A Semifinals; Beat Kane, 63-45, in D9 2A Finals; Beat California, 50-23, in PIAA First Round; Lost to Reynolds, 38-35, in PIAA 2A Second Round.
Head Coach: Bob Tingley
Top Returning Players: Shae Black, Sarah Chambers, Roz Page
Key Newcomers: Elizabeth Frame
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Play solid fundamental defense, use our athleticism to create turnovers and getting contributions on both offense and defense from our bench players.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 15-10, 5-3 KSAC North (2nd place)/Beat Clarion, 51-48, in D9 2A Quarterfinals; Lost to Coudersport, 51-41, in D9 2A Semifinals; Lost to Keystone, 51-39, in D9 2A Consolation Game.
Head Coach: Carrie Melat
Top Returning Players: Malliah Schreck, Ava Ferringer
Key Newcomers: Megan Hadden
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Decision making on both ends of the floor, defensive discipline, and good shot selection.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 4-18, 1-9 AML South (4th place)/none
Head Coach: Bob Desmett
Top Returning Players: Madison Weber, Tarah Jacobson, Hannah Condon
Key Newcomers: Kyra Henry, Alyssa Bakaysa
Coach’s Keys to the Season: The key to our season is developing young talent into contributors quickly. Our upperclassmen need to get us off to a quick start while the freshmen become accustomed to the level of competition. We now have a pretty solid roster coming off the bench at all positions.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 15-8, 6-4 D9 League (3rd place)/Lost to Hollidaysburg, 39-24, in District 6-8-9 5A Semifinals.
Head Coach: Keith Kriner
Top Returning Players: Chelsea DeSalve, Maddie Smith
Key Newcomers: 10 incoming freshman
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Playing together as a team. We are a young team that is very enthusiastic and hard working. Our senior players have stepped into the role of leaders and the rest of the team is responding well. We will need to play together as a well-rounded team. We are stressing to the girls that everyone on the floor needs to be a threat to score and play tough, aggressive defense. We will also need to learn as the season progresses and improve week to week.
DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 10-15, 6-4 AML South (2nd place; Lost to Kane, 57-33, in AML Semifinals)/Beat Cameron County, 48-42, in D9 1A First Round; Lost to North Clarion, 46-30, in D9 1A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Jordan Hoover
Top Returning Players: Shayleigh Gulvas, Alyssa Bittner. Ashley Wruble
Key Newcomers: None
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Our keys to our season will be to have balance on offense. Last year our starting line up all averaged between roughly five and eight points per game. I expect the balance to remain but the production of each kid to jump. Our other strength is offensive versatility with kids like Shay and Jordan Kosko who can play three to four positions. We will look to exploit matchups doing this. Our other key is senior leadership we have seven seniors total. Many are smart effective communicators most notably Haley and Abbey Pettenati. We will look to mix tempo more. Last year, we were are a conventional half-court grinding man-type team. We think our talent level is much higher, so will look to mix tempo defending on an opponent. The final point would be maximizing depth. We have eight kids returning who have started varsity games at some point in their career. We could use 10 players on a fairly regular basis.
ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 16-12, 5-5 D9 League (4th place); 7-3 AML North (2nd place; Beat Ridgway, 40-28, in AML Semifinals; Lost to Kane, 40-33, in AML Title Game) /Beat Northern Potter, 45-27, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Lost to North Clarion, 43-31, in D9 1A Semi-Finals; Lost to Otto-Eldred, 54-48, in D9 1A Consolation Game; Lost to Winchester Thurston, 51-31, in PIAA 1A First Round.
Head Coach: Ken Pistner
Top Returning Players: Taylor Newton, Sadie Vanalstine
Key Newcomers: Maddie Kear, Tamie Geci
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Developing our underclassmen as the season progresses.
GALETON (District 4 school playing in NTL)
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 11-12, 6-10 NTL (6th place) /none
Head Coach: Andrew Macensky
Top Returning Players: Katelyn Pagano, Haylee Ludington, Cara Parsell
Key Newcomers: Mackenna Shuemaker, Jessie Evans, Lauren Sauley
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have four returning starters from last year’s team with a year of varsity experience which should help out. We have some younger girls that that also got some varsity time last year so with that combination we should be ready each night we step on the court to compete. At the varsity level, we also for a good mixture of younger girls and a few upperclassmen that should help make the JV team competitive. We only have 11 girls, but 11 girls that have good fundamentals and basketball IQ so that makes it exciting I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 10-13, 5-5 AML North (3rd place)/Lost to A-C Valley, 51-42, in D9 1A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Mike King
Top Returning Players: Cassidy King, Rylee Casilio, Lindsey Kocjancic
Key Newcomers: None
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We are looking for Cassidy and Rylee to continue and build on there strong play from the outside with there scoring and defenses. Also, they need to control the flow of the game we want to play. Lindsey’s return is key for us to take control in the paint.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 24-3, 10-0 AML North (1st place; Won AML Title by beating DuBois Central Catholic, 57-33, in AML Semifinals and Elk County Catholic, 40-33, in AML Title Game)/Beat Keystone, 44-25, in D9 2A Semifinals; Lost to Coudersport, 63-45, in D9 2A Finals; Lost to Bellwood Antis, 69-40, in PIAA 2A First Round
Head Coach: Dave Kiehl
Top Returning Players: Ella Marconi, Hannah Buhl
Key Newcomers: None
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have three big holes to fill with the graduation of Trinity Clark (All-time career points and rebounds leader at Kane), Rachael Morgan and Catlin O’Hara. They were 48 percent of our points and 49 percent of our rebounds last year. As of right now, eight girls are in the mix to fill those holes. We will look much different this year. Not as much size, except for Ella, but very athletic and a deeper bench.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 12-11, 6-4 KSAC South (3rd place)/Beat Moniteau, 40-32, in D9 3A Semifinals, Lost to Brookville, 46-39, in D9 3A Finals
Head Coach: Steve Andreassi
Top Returning Players: Alyssa Stitt, Madison Kelly, Emma Clark
Key Newcomers: Juniors
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We will be successful if we stay within our capabilities. Because of our inexperience, we have to play smart throughout each game and realize our capabilities. I am confident on the defensive end we will be fine because these girls are working hard to get better. The team must replace all-time leading scorer Emily Hegedus.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 13-12, 6-4 KSAC South (4th place)/Beat Ridgway, 50-31, in D9 2A Quarterfinals; Lost to Kane, 44-25, in D9 2A Semifinals; Beat Cranberry, 51-39, in D9 2A Consolation Game; Lost to Vincentian Academy, 46-27, in PIAA 2A First Round.
Head Coach: Josh Almes (1st season)
Top Returning Players: McKenzie Hovis, Emily Lauer, Alyssa Dunlap
Key Newcomers: Jenna Still, Maddie Dunlap, Jessi Phillipi, Jozee Weaver
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We are a smaller team compared to most of our competition, so using our speed and creativity to secure rebounds will be the defining measure of our success. Many of the girls have lots of varsity experience, but we will need to work together on both ends of the court to truly reach our potential. Expect lots of different lineups throughout the season based on matchup because each of these varsity players brings a very unique skill set to the team.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 12-11, 7-3 KSAC South (2nd place)/Lost to Karns City, 40-32, in D9 3A Semifinals.
Head Coach: Dee Arblaster
Top Returning Players: Andie Arblaster, Izzy Bair, Kristin Auvil
Key Newcomers: Ashlyn Pry, Haley Pry, Katelyn Daniels
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Truly our key to the season will be playing as a team, limiting our turnovers and rebounding well. We lost a big player inside from last year. We have to be good rebounders if we want to play an up-tempo game.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 27-1, 8-0 KSAC North (1st place, Won KSAC title by defeating A-C Valley, 54-49)/Beat DuBois Central Catholic, 46-30, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Beat Elk County Catholic, 43-31, in D9 1A Semifinals; Beat A-C Valley, 52-49, in D9 1A Finals; Beat Cornell, 54-46, in PIAA 1A First Round, Lost to Farrell, 63-58 OT, in PIAA 1A Second Round.
Head Coach: Terry Dreihaup
Top Returning Players: Abby Gatesman, Mackenzie Bauer, Gabby Schmader, Gabby Carll, Cierah Manross
Key Newcomers: Natalie Meyers, Gabby DiDolce, Addison Shaftic
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We need our returning starters (Abby, Gabby, Gabby, Mackenzie, Haley and Cierah) to pick up where we left off last year and continue to improve in all aspects of their game and continue to mentor our underclassman. Rebounding is a key to our success this year. Haley, Cierah, Natalie, Gabby, and Abby are all working very hard on the rebounding fundamentals. Our Shooters, (Abby, Gabby, Gabby, Mackenzie, and Addison) are all poised to increase their scoring output this year as well, as all of them are working extremely hard on our defense. The team must replace all-time leading scorer and rebounder Tori Obenrader.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 17-6, 12-4 NTL (3rd place)/Lost to Elk County Catholic, 45-27, in D9 1A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Cindy Cowburn
Top Returning Players: Abigail Anderson, Alyssa Burchell
Key Newcomers: None
Coach’s Keys to the Season: The key to our season will be keeping a positive attitude, playing within our abilities, making good decisions and learning to work together since the varsity squad has not played together as a group in the past.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 6-16, 2-14 NTL (8th place)/none
Head Coach: Dale Norton
Top Returning Players: Karina West, Faith Coole, McKenzie Gross
Key Newcomers: Mackenzie Mesler, Shevelle Shelp, Haylee McMichael
Coach’s Keys to the Season: How quickly the team adjusts to a new coach and a new approach to playing the game.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 21-5, 14-2 NTL (2nd place)/Beat Brockway, 54-32, in D9 1A Quarterfinals; Lost to A-C Valley, 56-52, in D9 1A Semifinals; Beat Elk County Catholic, 54-48, in D9 1A Consolation Game; Lost to Juniata Valley, 65-28, in PIAA 1A First Round.
Head Coach: Shawn Gray (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Britney Greeley, Haley Fredrick, Jade Spinney
Key Newcomers: Reilly Raught, Kayley Heller, Morgan Dalton
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Having lost four of the better female athletes to go through O-E in a long time last year, we will have to grow up fast, and will also have to lean on the few players who have some experience, at least early on. The girls also have to get used to a new coach, having lost an outstanding one in Barb Close, with whom they had developed a very strong and unique relationship. Luckily, Barb and her staff did a tremendous job and didn’t leave the cupboards bare, that’s for sure. Our Seniors have really stepped up in the early going, with Autumn Smith and Lauren Cousins taking on leadership roles that they hadn’t had to do in the past, because of the special kids that graduated last year, and whom they had to play behind until now. What I like so far is that every single girl has been so coachable and receptive to my style, which is all we can ask for as coaches. If we can rebound and defend like I think we can, we should be a fun team to watch play this year, while being able to hold our own with the teams in our league and in the area. The team must replace Camryn Thomas.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 9-12, 8-8 NTL (5th place)/none
Head Coach: Jamie Evens (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Cailey Barnett, Bree Garzel, Erin Stauffer
Key Newcomers: Madison Preston, Jade Evens
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Develop consistent scoring beyond Barnett … depth needs to develop with limited experience beyond the six returning letterman … leaders need to step up and create a team environment.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 18-6, 10-0 D9 League (1st place)/Beat St. Marys, 47-24, in D9 4A Finals; Lost to Ambridge, 36-21 in PIAA 4A First Round.
Head Coach: Mike Carlson
Top Returning Players: Kate Horner, Sarah Weaver
Key Newcomers: Abby Gigliotti, Riley Presloid, Sophie Wyant
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We need control pace of play. Our girls are quick and athletic, but we don’t have a lot of size. Our varsity players are mostly guards. We must be able to have ball pressure so teams don’t take advantage of our size. Must replace Leah Miller, a 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound player.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 6-16, 1-9 KSAC South (6th place)/none
Head Coach: Chris Edmonds
Top Returning Players: Kelsie Elmer, Adriana Shilling, Tara Hinderliter
Key Newcomers: Katie Davis, Claire Clouse, Madison Foringer
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have six upperclassmen (Sr./Jr.) and 19 underclassmen (So./Fr.) so we are looking for leadership out of the upperclassman. We are looking for Kelsie, Adriana, Tara and Lauren Smith to step up and become leaders. One key for us this year will be to control the boards, Megan Gourley (junior), who came over from soccer, and Madison Foringer (freshman) both are 5’11” along with Emma Huffman who is 5’10’’. I am also looking for Tara Hinderliter to have another solid year(15 ppg) and continue to evolve as one of the top players in the conference. We are counting on our bench to become one of our strengths this year but it will take time for the incoming freshman (Katie, Claire and Madison) and returning sophomore Karlee Shumaker to get comfortable with the offense and rotation.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 12-11, 6-4 AML North (1st place; Lost to Elk County Catholic, 40-28, in AML Semifinals)/Lost to Keystone, 50-31, in D9 2A Quarterfinals.
Head Coach: Kyle Gordon
Top Returning Players: Alyssa Kasmierski, Casey Woodford, Lindsey Steis
Key Newcomers: Eva Cobaugh, Gabbi Rohr, Julie Peterson
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Our keys to success will be mental toughness and speed. We don’t have a lot of height but they make up for it with their intensity. Our school was one of two schools in Pennsylvania to be recognized by the U.S. Dept of Education for the Blue Ribbon Award. We’re coming out of highly successful girls soccer, football and volleyball seasons. We’re looking to continue the standard of excellence for our school.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 12-12, 3-7 D9 League (5th place)/Beat Clearfield, 46-38, in D9 4A Semifinals, Lost to Punxsutawney, 47-24, in D9 4A Finals.
Head Coach: Leona Ho’ohuli
Top Returning Players: Kaylee Muccio, Megan Quesenberry, Lauren Eckert
Key Newcomers: Kyla Johnson, Allison Schlimm, Britney Shaw
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Play tough team defense and box out to offset our lack if size. Utilize our speed and limit turnovers. We’ll need production from our entire team as well.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 2-20, 0-10 AML North (4th place)/none
Head Coach: Brandon Troutman
Top Returning Players: Marissa Grubbs, Rosemary Nelson, Emily Leichtenberger
Key Newcomers: Alyssa Dunham, Annabel Sheldon. Allison Schmader
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We have to score. We graduated 75 percent of our scoring from a season ago. We invested a lot of time in the offseason to playing competitive games in hopes of finding out who and what we are coming into this season. We also need to use our size differential as a strength, not a weakness. For us to be successful, we have to continue to buy into these changes, work hard on them, and adapt when necessary.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 6-16, 5-11 NTL (7th place)/none
Head Coach: Chad Goodman (1st season)
Top Returning Players: Erin Herzog, MyKayla Deyarmin, Patty Todd
Key Newcomers: Sabrina Tanner, Danielle Nelson, Kassidy DiDamizio
Coach’s Keys to the Season: We are a very young team with only one senior and 2 juniors so we will be relying heavily on a lot of underclassmen to give us quality minutes. Obviously, we are going to have to play good solid discipline Defense and hold the scoring down to be able to win games as we have stressed to our players. Being a first-year coach and implementing a whole new offensive systemic may take us a few games to get clicking on offense. I feel that the girls are really adapting well to what we are doing and should be ready for our opener.
2017-18 Record/Playoff Finish: 7-15, 1-9 KSAC South (5th place)/none
Head Coach: Ally Kepple
Top Returning Players: Bryn Davis, Marli Hawk, Morgan Cumberland
Key Newcomers: Dominika Logue, Hailey Kriebel, Maggie Minick
Coach’s Keys to the Season: Strong people coming off bench, speed, and taller players than we usually have.