The D9Sports Tournament of Champions moves into the Sweet 16 with the regional semifinals in both the Boys’ East Region and West Region up first.
(Photo: The 2018 Coudersport boys’ team won the District 9 Class 2A title)
Advancing to the Sweet 16 out of the East Region were top-seeded 2006 Elk County Catholic, third-seeded 2002 Karns City, seventh-seeded 2018 Coudersport, and 13th-seeded 2018 Johnsonburg.
Advancing to the Sweet 16 out of the West Region were top-seeded 2012 Ridgway, No. 2 2009 Elk County Catholic, No. 3 2004 Elk County Catholic, and No. 4 2015 Redbank Valley.
Here is how this works. You have until 11:59 p.m. Monday to vote for which team you think is the best in each matchup. At that point, the winners will advance into the Elite 8.
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(13-E) 2018 Johnsonburg vs. (1-E) 2006 Elk County Catholic
Will the slipper still fit 2018 Johnsonburg? The Rams have upset No. 4 2019 Ridgway, 57 percent to 43 percent, and No. 5 2013 Smethport, 57 percent to 43 percent, to reach the Sweet 16 where they face the only PIAA champion in the bracket, 2006 Elk County Catholic. The Crusaders beat No. 17 2016 Kane, 76 percent to 24 percent, and No. 8 2002 Keystone, 55 percent to 45 percent, to make it to the Sweet 16.
Johnsonburg went 19-8 in 2018 upsetting Elk County Catholic in the D9 1A title game, 36-30, before losing in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. The Rams, coached by Bill Shuey, were led by future 1,000-point scorer Austin Green, only a sophomore, who averaged 11.2 ppg.
The 2006 ECC team finished a perfect 33-0 and beat Coudersport, 66-26, in the District 9 championship game before rolling through the PIAA playoffs with wins by 32 points, 24 points, 33 points, 15 points and finally by 10 points, 71-61, in the PIAA title game over Bishop Hannon at the Giant Center in Hershey. The Crusaders were led by D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year Jesse Bosnik, a junior that season who went on to be the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,083 career points. Bosnik was joined on the All-District team by third-team selections Kevin Genevro and Tony Lecker, both seniors, while fellow junior Josh Salter also played a key role in the title. Head coach Aaron Straub was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year.
(7-E) 2018 Coudersport vs. (3-E) 2002 Karns CIty
2018 Coudersport advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 60 percent to 40 percent upset win over No. 2 2017 Elk County Catholic, while 2002 Karns City beat No. 6 2016 ECC, 65 percent to 35 percent.
Coudersport won its second straight District 9 Class 2A title in 2018 beating Ridgway, 66-46, in the title game and then knocked off Wilmington in the first round of the PIAA Tournament before losing to eventual PIAA runner-up OLSH in the second round. The Brian Furman-coached Falcons were led by D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year, Owen Chambers (24.9 ppg), who went on to become the all-time leading scorer in D9 history with 2,239 career points. Jared Green (16.3 ppg), a 1,500-point career scorer, joined Chambers as a first-team All-District 9 selection, as Coudersport finished the year 23-4.
Karns City went 27-2 in 2002 and didn’t lose until February when it dropped a regular-season decision to Wilkinsburg. The Gremlins went on to beat Moniteau, 69-48, in the D9 2A title game after rolling past Ridgway, 86-38, in the semifinals before beating Maplewood and North Star in the first two rounds of the PIAA playoffs. The North Star game was a 47-46 overtime decision when future Redbank Valley head coach Patrick Craig hit a shot with eight seconds to play in overtime. Craig had also tied the game with three free throws with 18.8 seconds left in regulation after being fouled taking a 3-pointer. Karns City, coached by Jeff Loughry, fell in the PIAA quarterfinals to eventual PIAA runner-up Sto-Rox. The Gremlins were led by Craig (21.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg), a 1,000-point career scorer, and Brian Hilderbrand (10.2 ppg, 8.7 apg), who were both named first-team All-District players.
(4-W) 2015 Redbank Valley vs. (1-W) 2012 Ridgway
2015 Redbank Valley inched past 2004 Johnsonburg, 51 percent to 49 percent, to reach the Sweet 16, while top-seeded Ridgway rolled to a 67 percent to 33 percent win over 2001 Karns City.
Redbank Valley went 22-7 in 2015 and won the school’s first District 9 title since 1980 when it beat Cranberry, 40-36, in the 2A title game. The Bulldogs, under the direction of Greg Bean, then dispatched Bellwood-Antis, 60-53, and West Branch, 62-46, to reach the PIAA quarterfinals for the first time in school history before losing to eventual PIAA runner-up Aliquippa, 70-36. Bean was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, while Jake Dougherty (16.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.1 spg) was a first-team All-D9 selection and Devin Shumaker (11.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.6 spg) and Zach Westover (9.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.8 bpg) were third-team All-District 9 choices.
Ridgway finished 29-2 in 2012 beating rival Johnsonburg, 40-37, to win the District 9 title. The Elkers then embarked on the best PIAA run in school history knocking off Sewickley Academy, 48-40, Kennedy Catholic, 73-50, and Visonquest, 58-51, to reach the PIAA semifinals were it lost to Lincoln Park, 65-46. Head coach Tony Allegretto was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, and the Elkers were paced by D9Sports.com Player of the Year Eric Matheson (18.4 ppg, 4.2 spg, 4.0 apg, 3.6 rpg) as well as third-team All-D9 choice Jordan Lundin (8.2 ppg). Matheson finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer with over 1,500 career points.
(3-W) 2004 Elk County Catholic vs. (2-W) 2009 Elk County Catholic
It’s a matchup of a pair of Aaron Straub-led teams as the 2004 version of ECC advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 74 percent to 26 percent win over 2019 ECC, and 2009 ECC beat 2010 Bradford, 55 percent to 45 percent.
Elk County Catholic went 27-3 in 2004 and beat PIAA semifinalist Johnsonburg, 69-52, to win the D9 1A title then topped Homer-Center, 65-40, and St. Joseph’s, 66-53, to reach the PIAA quarterfinals were it lost to eventual PIAA runner-up Sewickley Academy, 52-49, in a game ECC trailed by 10 with 1:36 to play. Freshman Jesse Bosnik led the Crusaders and was named a second-team All-District 9 selection after averaging 13.7 ppg. He would have bee the D9Sports.com Rookie of the Year, but the award didn’t exist until 2005. Bosnik went on to become the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,083 career points. Senior Doug Straub (11.7 ppg) was a third-team All-D9 selection.
The 2009 ECC team went 23-8 and beat Johnsonburg, 47-36, to win the D9 1A title then topped Union (New Castle), 67-62 in overtime on a Nate Higgins offensive rebound and putback with 13 seconds left in regulation to force OT, Homer-Center, 59-56 in overtime, and Serra Catholic, 63-51, to reach the PIAA semifinals before losing to PIAA runner-up Kennedy Catholic, 58-44, in the semifinals. Straub was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, while Nate Higgins (15.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg) was a first-team All-D9 selection and scored 1,050 points ina career that was split between St. Marys and ECC. Robby Wortman (10.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg) was a third-team All-D9 choice as well.