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D9 Girls’ Basketball preview: A better postseason ahead?


KARNS CITY’S LEEANN GIBSON leads her team into the season as the defending Class AA champions. (Apex Imaging/Mike Schnelle)

By Rich Rhoades

Here’s a quick look at the upcoming season with a quick look back.

What’s in store for this year? As far as teams and who might make a run deep into the state playoffs, it can’t get any worse than last year as all seven of the district’s seven state playoff teams lost their opener.

At the individual level, eight of last year’s 18 players on the All American Awards & Engraving All-District 9 teams are back, including first-teamers LeeAnn Gibson of Karns City, Brooke Hinderliter of Redbank Valley and Ava Homan of Venango Catholic.

Those three make up half of this year’s preseason all-district team that also includes Moniteau’s Kristina DeMatteis and North Clarion’s Tori Obenrader. SEE STORY.

Here’s what happened last year:



Allegheny Mountain League Championship: Elk County Catholic 49, DuBois Central Catholic 30

North Tier League: Port Allegany

District 9 League: Elk County Catholic

Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Championship: Karns City 55, Venango Catholic 53


District finals

Class AAA: Punxsutawney 39, Bradford 29

Class AA: Karns City 43, Redbank Valley 27

Class A: Venango Catholic 35, Clarion 22

Class A consolation: Elk County Catholic 61, Cameron County 45


It was a very quiet season for state playoff success for District 9 as no team won beyond districts, going a collective 0-7.

And here’s the skinny going into this year:


(By classification, with last year’s record in parenthesis)

Based on last year’s rosters:


A-C Valley (12-11): The Lady Falcons have two of their top five scorers back, led by senior Morgan Cratty (9.5 ppg.), the team’s top scorer.

Austin (0-21): Junior Madison Hooftallen (3.1 ppg.) is the top scorer back for the Lady Panthers, who have lost 22 straight games dating back to the end of the 2013-14 season.

Cameron County (15-11): The Lady Red Raiders lost their leading scorer, but return three of their top four, including juniors Mady Harrier (10.7 ppg.) and Madi Guisto (8 ppg.), and senior Amelia Holjencin (6.1 ppg.).

Clarion (15-12): The Lady Cats have a new coach with Tracy Durish. Three of their top six scorers return, led by seniors Anna Reed (6.1 ppg.) and Kelly Beveridge (3.3 ppg.) and junior Gloria Kroh (2.5 ppg.).

Clarion-Limestone (2-20): Senior Josie Stitt (9.3 ppg.) is the leading returning scorer back for head coach Brad Frazier’s team. Of the team’s 16-girl varsity/JV roster, 11 are freshmen.

Coudersport (12-10): The Lady Falcons return virtually all of their roster from last year, led by leading scorers Haley Keck (10.7 ppg.) and Allie Easton (10 ppg.), both sophomores. Senior Emily Morey averaged 9.1 ppg.

DuBois Central Catholic (14-10): The Lady Cardinals also return almost their entire roster, led by leading scorer Riley Assalone (10.9 ppg.), a senior. Others back are juniors Jordan Frank (7.3 ppg.), Gabby Caruso (7.2 ppg.) and Libby Maurer (5 ppg.).

Forest Area (8-14): Senior Morgan Silvis (9.3 ppg.), the second-leading scorer, is the only player back from among the team’s top five scorers.

Elk County Catholic (26-2): Ken Pistner, in his 14th year, is closing in on a milestone with 281 wins. He has just three of his 10 varsity regulars back from last year’s squad, including juniors Reilly Herzing (7 ppg.) and Cassidy Cunningham (3.5 ppg.), and senior MacKenzie Gahr (3 ppg.).

Johnsonburg (6-16): The Ramettes have two of their top five scorers back in junior Nicole Myers (9.4 ppg.) and Olivia Perez-McGill (3.2 ppg.).

Keystone (19-4): The Lady Panthers lost their leading scorer in Madison Johnson, but she was one of just three of the team’s top eight scorers who graduated. Top scorers back are senior Amber Hess (8.3 ppg.), junior Alyssa Beichner (6.8 ppg.), sophomore Taylor Geer (6.7 ppg.) and sophomore Josselin Geer (5.9 ppg.).

North Clarion (11-12): The Lady Wolves lost just one of their top eight scorers back and return their top two scorers in senior Abbie Schmader (14.7 ppg.) and Tori Obenrader (13.4 ppg.). Obenrader was the D9Sports.Com Rookie of the Year, a Second Team All-District selection and a Preseason All-District pick this year.

Northern Potter (8-15): Junior Gracie Hamilton (13.2 ppg.) is back after leading the team in scoring.

Oswayo Valley (7-15): The Green Wave have their top six scorers back, all of them seniors. Leading the way are Brianna Siebert (9.5 ppg.), Kelsie Pease (9 ppg.) and Hope Howard (8.7 ppg.).

Otto-Eldred (16-6): The Lady Terrors lost their top two scorers, but return their next five, led by sophomores Camryn Thomas (9.6 ppg.) and Allison Cousins (3.8 ppg.), and senior Kylie Stuck (3.6 ppg.).

Port Allegany (21-2): The defending North Tier League champs lost their top two scorers to graduation, but return three of their top six led by junior Autumn Buchsenschutz (9.8 ppg.) and senior Kendra Pelchy (3.3 ppg.).

Ridgway (6-16): Virtually the entire roster is back, led by senior Jessica Kifer (10.2 ppg.), the leading scorer, junior Hannah Park (9.5 ppg.) and sophomore Emily Fullem (7.5 ppg.).

Sheffield (1-21): Brandon Troutman is the new coach for the Lady Wolverines, who lost just about all of their scoring to graduation. Sophomore Mya Grubbs (1.7 ppg.) is the leading returning scorer.

Smethport (18-5): The Lady Hubbers lost five of their top seven scorers to graduation. The leading scorers back are senior Addison Gross-Benjamin (5.7 ppg.) and junior Katie Treat (4.6 ppg.).

Union (5-17): Head coach Lacey Magagnotti’s team went from 0 to 5 wins and she’ll have her top two scorers back in sisters Lexey and Shaley Shick. Lexey (14.4 ppg.) was a Third Team All-District pick while Shaley averaged 9.4 points per game.

Venango Catholic (21-7): The defending Class A champs feature returning First Team All-District player and Preseason All-District selection in senior Ava Homan (18.3 ppg.). From there, only junior Taylor Dziekciasz (1.8 ppg.) was among the top six scorers who return this year.


Brockway (12-10): Three of the top six scorers return for the Lady Rovers, including second-leading scorer Leah Lindemuth (7.8 ppg.), a sophomore, along with junior Katlyn Cappetti (4.2 ppg.) and sophomore Kaitlyn Morrelli (4.1 ppg.).

Brookville (13-10): The Lady Raiders return four of their top five leading scorers, led by seniors Elaina Powell (11.2 ppg.) and Hali Olson (10.8 ppg.), along with senior MacKenzie Ganoe (6.4 ppg.) and Brooke Shattenberg (4.7 ppg.).

Cranberry (6-16): The Berries return their top five scorers, led by junior Bree Swartzfager (7 ppg.) and sophomore Hannah Duncan (5.2 ppg.).

Curwensville (17-7): Eric Duriancik is the new coach for the Lady Tide, who lost their leading scorer in Ciara Strickland, but return three of the top four. Junior Hannah Dixon (9.8 ppg.), junior Christine Limbert (6.7 ppg.) and senior Shauna Guy (6 ppg.) lead the way.

Kane (12-12): The Lady Wolves lost their leading scorer Taylor Morgan, but return three of the top five, including sophomore Trinity Clark (8.8 ppg.), junior Camryn Cummings (6.6 ppg.) and senior Sydney Dyne (5.9 ppg.). The season will start with head coach Dave Kiehl sitting out the first four games due to a District 9 suspension. SEE STORY.

Karns City (22-4): Returning First Team All-District and Preseason All-District player LeeAnn Gibson (14 ppg.) led the Lady Gremlins in scoring and she’s one of three of the top six scorers back. Also returning are sophomore Emily Hegedus (9.8 ppg.) and junior Alyssa Gibson (6.6 ppg.).

Moniteau (15-9): Dee Arblaster replaced Matt Stebbins not long before preseason practices began. SEE STORY. She’ll have three of the top five scorers returning, including leading scorer in junior Kristina DeMatteis (13.3 ppg.), who was a Second Team All-District selection last year and Preseason All-District pick this year. Also back are junior Alazia Greaves (7.3 ppg.) and junior Sara Hull (4 ppg.).

Redbank Valley (19-8): Senior Brooke Hinderliter looks to become the first four-time First Team All-District player since all-district awards were handed out starting in the 1999-2000 season. She averaged 20 points per game last year and heads into her final season with 1,486 career points. The team’s second-leading scorer in senior Becca Dougherty (7.8 ppg.) and junior Macy King are also back from last year’s regular playing rotation.


Bradford (6-17): The only player the Lady Owls lost to graduation was leading scorer Rylee Lundgren. Junior Bri Wells (9.9 ppg.), junior Morgan Roggenbaum (6 ppg.) and junior Kamryn Piscitelli (4 ppg.) are the leading returning scorers.

Clearfield (4-18): The Lady Bison return their top two scorers in senior Rachel Glenny (9.4 ppg.) and senior Emily Ryan (9.3 ppg.).

Punxsutawney (16-8): Mike Carlson is the new head coach of the Lady Chucks, who return just two of their top eight scorers in seniors Hope Bridge (9.1 ppg.) and Emma White (1.5 ppg.).

St. Marys (7-15): The Lady Dutch lost just one senior from their roster and return their top four scorers, led by senior Rachel Bauer (11.5 ppg.). Also back are junior Caitlyn Bankovich (7.5 ppg.), junior Rachelle Arminini (7.1 ppg.) and senior Kaitlyn Barackman (5.6 ppg.).


DuBois (8-14): New head coach Keith Kriner has a team returning all but one player and has leading scorer Dayna DeSalve (14 ppg.), who was a Third Team All-District selection.