With the D9Sports Tournament of Champions now in the second round, it’s time for the boys’ West Region.
(Photo: The 2015 Redbank Valley boys’ basketball team, which won the Class 2A D9 title. Photo by Mike Schnelle)
Advancing to the second round in the West were topped-seeded 2012 Ridgway, No. 2 2009 Elk County Catholic, No. 3 2004 Elk County Catholic, No. 4 2015 Redbank Valley, No. 5 2004 Johnsonburg, No. 6 2019 Elk County Catholic, No. 7 2010 Bradford, and No. 8 2001 Karns City.
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 Round of 16.
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(8) 2001 Karns City vs. (1) 2012 Ridgway
2001 Karns City advanced to the second round with a 61 percent to 39 percent win over 2020 Brookville, while 2012 Ridgway beat 2014 Brookville 80 percent to 20 percent.
Karns City went 24-4 in 2001 and beat Kane, 59-46, in the D9 Class 2A title game before topping Saegertown, 55-39, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs and losing to Windber in the second round. The Jeff Loughry-coached Gremlins were led by junior Patrick Craig (16.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg), a first-team All-District 9 selection who went on to score over 1,300 career sports, and Brian Hilderbrand (9.1 ppg, 9.0 apg, 4.0 spg), who was named second-team All-District 9.
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.
(5) 2004 Johnsonburg vs. (4) 2015 Redbank Valley
2004 Johnsonburg topped 2005 Punxsutawney, 82 percent to 18 percent in the first round, while 2015 Redbank Valley beat 2017 Karns City, 73 percent to 27 percent.
Johnsonburg finished 26-5 in 2004 and lost to PIAA quarterfinalist Elk County Catholic, 69-52, in the D9 1A title game. The Rams, under the direction of Bill Thorwart, then went on a run in the PIAA playoffs beating West Middlesex, 66-44, District 6 champion Bishop Carroll, 47-37, and WPIAL runner-up Vincentian Academy, 58-37, to reach the PIAA semifinals before losing to Sewickley Academy, 45-36, in the semifinals. Johnsonburg was led by first-team All-District selection Dan Zeigler (15.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg) as well freshman Calvin Grumley (14.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.1 spg). Grumley finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in D9 history (now second) with 2,257 career points.
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.
(6) 2019 Elk County Catholic vs. (3) 2004 Elk County Catholic
2019 ECC beat 2013 Bradford, 70 percent to 30 percent, while 2004 ECC beat 2011 St. Marys, 72 percent to 28 percent.
ECC finished 27-2 in 2019 and won the D9 1A title with a 52-43 win over North Clarion before beating Leechburg, 65-41, in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs and losing to Vincentian Academy, 63-57, in the second round. The Aaron Straub-led Crusaders were paced by second-team All-District 9 selection Alex Breindel (13.0 ppg, 83 3-pointers) and third-team All-D9 selection Regis Wortman, a junior, who averaged 12.6 ppg and shot 56.1 percent from the field.
Aaron Straub-led 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.
(7) 2010 Bradford vs. (2) 2009 Elk County Catholic
2010 Bradford topped 2009 Clearfield, 69 percent to 31 percent, with 2009 ECC beating beat 2020 Clearfield, 73 percent to 27 percent.
Bradford went 22-3 in 2010 and beat Clearfield, 56-28, to win the D9 Class 3A title then dispatched Trinity, 45-43, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs on a Mike White layup with 3.34 seconds to play before losing to West Mifflin, 63-42, in the second round. Dave “Pug” Fuhrman, the son of head coach Dave Fuhrman, was a second-team All-District 9 selection after averaging 16.0 ppg and hitting 74 3-pointers.
Aaron Straub’s 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.