With the play-in round complete, it’s time to start the D9Sports Tournament of Champions girls’ bracket in earnest with the “East Regionals”.
(Photo of the 2013 Clarion girls’ basketball team that won the District 9 Class 1A title)
The top four seeds include the No. 1 overall seed, 2006 Union, at No. 1, 2013 Clarion at No. 2, 2002 Coudersport at No. 3, and 2006 Punxsutawney at No. 4.
Here is how this works. You have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday to vote for which team you think is the best in each matchup. At that point, the winners will advance into the Round of 32.
GIRLS’ EAST REGION FIRST ROUND
(17) 2008 Karns City vs. (1) 2006 Union
The 2008 Karns City team advanced into the round of 64 with a convincing 68 percent to 32 percent victory over 2005 Cranberry in the play-in round.
The Lady Gremlins finished 16-11 in 2008 and beat Cranberry, 55-43, in the D9 Class 2A title game before losing in the opening round of the PIAA Tournament. Karns City had a pair of first-team All-District 9 performers in Allyson Kepple and Ashley Campbell. Both Kepple, who was a senior in 2008, and Campbell, who was a junior, finished their careers as 1,000-point scorers.
Union went 29-2 in 2006 with the only regular-season loss coming to Hylton, Va. in the Stafford, Va., Tournament. The Golden Damsels beat Coudersport, 75-58, in the D9 Class 1A title game and then dispatched Monaca, 62-34, Penns Manor, 62-49, and Penns Manor, 65-58, to reach the PIAA semifinals where it lost, 46-44, to Conemaugh Valley when Samantha Pollino was fouled 85 feet from the basket going for a loose-ball rebound with 5.9 seconds left and hit both free throws. Union head coach Josh Meeker was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, while seniors Bethany Koch (17.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg) and Andrea Mortimer (16.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) were named the co-D9Sports.com District 9 Players of the Year. Tiffany Corle, a junior this season, joined Koch and Mortimer on the All-District teams being named a third-team selection after averaging 10.3 ppg and 5.1 rpg. All three players were 1,000-career point scorers with Mortimer topping 1,500 career points, Koch, who went on to a solid career at Clarion University, going over 1,300 career tallies and Corle finishing with over 1,100 career points.
(9) 2009 St. Marys vs. (8) 2003 Punxsutawney
St. Marys went 21-3 in 2009 beating Clearfield, 56-28, to win the D9 Class 3A title before losing to Mt. Pleasant in the first round of the PIAA Tournament. Kayla Ho’ohuli, just a sophomore, led the Bob Swanson-coach Lady Dutch and was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year after averaging 26.9 points, 6.3 steals, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 blocks per game. No one else on the team averaged more than 6.1 ppg. Ho’ohuli also surpassed the 1,000-point mark in just her second year on her way to a school-record 2,604 career points.
Punxsutawney finished 2003 23-2 overall and beat Brookville, 56-37, to win the D9 3A title before falling to Corry, 52-50, in the PIAA playoffs. Under the direction of current Punxsutawney Athletic Director and District 9 Basketball Chairman Randy Reitz, the Lady Chucks were led by first-team All-District 9 choice Staci Heberling (14.0 ppg), a sophomore in 2003 who end up finishing her career with 1,575 points, the most in school history and went on to a solid career at IUP, as well as second-team All-D9 selection Brittany Nelson (14.5 ppg), and third-team All-D9 choice Renea Shaffer (9.8 ppg).
(12) 2017 Karns City vs. (5) 2001 Coudersport
Karns City, under the direction of Dave Kerschbaumer, went 19-6 in 2017 and beat Moniteau, 36-35, in the D9 Class 3A title game on a Livia Andreassi putback of her own missed shot at the horn before beating Seneca, 61-49, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs and losing to Neshannock, 46-38, in the second round. The Lady Gremlins were led first-team All-District 9 selection junior Emily Hegedus (17.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 3.8 apg, 3.3 spg), who went on to become the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,735 career points, and senior Mackenzie Craig (14.7 ppg), who was named a third-team All-District choice and had two great seasons at Butler County Community College before joining IUP this past season.
Coudersport went 27-2 and beat DuBois Central Christian (now Catholic) 55-53 in the 1A title game when Ashley Reed banked home a shot in the lane with six seconds to play. The Lady Falcons then beat Monaca, 62-43, in the first round of the PIAA Tournament before losing to Bishop Carroll, 66-30, in the second round. Coudy’s only other loss was a 50-35 loss to Warren in early December. Head coach Tom Harpst was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, while Stefanie Erway (12 ppg, 5.9 apg, 4.7 spg) was named a first-team All-District 9 selection.
(13) 2019 Brookville vs. (4) 2006 Punxsutawney
Brookville, coached by Mark Powell, went 19-6 in 2019 winning a second straight District 9 Class 3A title with a 54-40 win over Moniteau in the title game. The Lady Raiders then rolled past Chestnut Ridge, 70-39, in the D5-9 subregional title game before losing to Central Cambria, 73-44, in the first round of the PIAA Tournament. Brookville was led by first-team All-D9 selection Marcy Schindler (12.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and third-team choice Morgan Johnson (13.4 ppg)
Punxsutawney went 23-4 in 2006 and beat Bradford, 51-36, to win the D9 Class 3A title. The Lady Chucks, under the direction of current Punxsutawney Athletic Director and District 9 Basketball Chairman Randy Reitz, then beat West Mifflin, 46-22, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing to Hopewell, 56-26, in the second round. Punxsutawney was led by first-team All-D9 selection Lauren Martino (13.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 4.0 spg), a junior, who went on to score 1,000 career points, and third-team All-D9 selection Samantha Reitz (10.9 ppg).
(11) 2007 Karns City vs. (6) 2019 A-C Valley
Karns City finished 22-6 in 2007 under the direction of Dave Kershbaumer and beat Curwensville, 42-33, to win the D9 2A title before beating Shady Side Academy, 39-26, in the PIAA first round and losing to Girard, 48-37, in the second round. The Lady Gremlins were led by second-team All-D9 selection Haley Callihan (11.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg) and third-team choice Allyson Kepple, the girls’ coach at Union now, who averaged 12.4 ppg and 3.6 apg as a junior. Kepple went on to score nearly 1,200 career points.
A-C Valley finished 2019 22-5 and lost in the D9 2A title game to Kane, 61-52 in overtime, before having great success in the PIAA Tournament beating Cambridge Springs, 47-43, in the first round, then knocking off WPIAL champion OLSH, 35-33, in overtime in the second round when Olivia Boocks hit the back end of a two-shot foul to force overtime tied at 29 with 1.5 seconds left in regulation. The Dave Sherman-led Lady Falcons were paced by Boocks, who is now at Clarion University playing, a first-team All-District 9 selection after averaging 12.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.5 apg and 4.3 spg. Kylee Eaton (11.7 ppg, 11.2 rpg) was a second-team All-D9 selection, and Cami McNany (12.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.6 apg) was a third-team choice.
(14) 2009 Cranberry vs. (3) 2002 Coudersport
Cranberry went 21-5 in 2009 and beat Kane, 43-30, to win the D9 2A title before losing to Washington in the first round of the PIAA Tournament. Chrissy Shumaker’s Berries were led by junior Hannah Heeter (13.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg), a first-team All-D9 selection who went on to a stellar two-sport career – volleyball and basketball – at Clarion University and scored 1,350 career points at Cranberry.
Coudersport went 26-2 in 2002 beating Cameron County, 60-50, to win the D9 1A title but lost in the first round of the District 9 tournament to Monessen. The Matt Splain-coached Lady Falcons were led by second-team All-D9 selection Ashley Reed.
(10) 2002 Punxsutawney vs. (7) 2006 Coudersport
Punxsutawney finished 21-6 and beat Brookville, 56-37, in the D9 Class 3A title game before topping Lewistown, 71-56, in the first round of the PIAA Tournament and losing to Grove City, 55-33, in the second round. Randy Reitz, the current Punxsutawney Athletic Director and District 9 Basketball Chairman, was named the D9Sports.com Coach of the Year while junior Brittany Nelson (13 ppg, 6 rpg) was named a first-team All-D9 selection, junior Renea Shaffer was a second-team All-D9 choice and freshman Staci Heberling was a third-team choice and would have been the Rookie of the Year if the award had existed (it didn’t come into existence until 2005).
Coudersport went 25-3 in 2006 losing to eventual PIAA semifinalist Union, 75-58, in the D9 1A title game before beating Saegertown, 63-51, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs and losing to Monessen, 50-36, in the second round. The Falcons, under the direction of Brian Green, lost just once in the regular season, 49-46, in the season opener to Wyalusing, and won 24 in a row before falling to Union in the D9 title game. Senior Danielle Furman (17.5 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.0 spg; 1,164 career points) was a first-team All-District 9 selection while Hope Morris (11.6 ppg) and Jessica Wilson (11.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg), just a sophomore, were third-team selections.
(15) 2007 Bradford vs. (2) 2013 Clarion
Bradford went 19-7 in 2007 and beat five-time defending champion Punxsutawney, 33-31, to win the D9 Class 3A title after taking a 27-12 lead into the fourth quarter to win its first D9 title since 1996 before losing to Moon, 67-32, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. The Doug Lloyd-coached Lady Owls were led by second-team All-D9 choice Whitney Cline (12.5 ppg), a senior who finished her career with 1,083 points.
Going 25-4 in 2013, Clarion beat Port Allegany, 56-41, in the 1A title game to win its first D9 crown since 1992 and then knocked off Winchester Thurston, 52-30, in the first round of the PIAA tournament before topping Conemaugh Township, 61-59, before losing to Bishop Guilfoyle, 45-35, in the quarterfinals. Head coach Roger Walter was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, while Ashley Hummel (11.4 ppg), Kyla Miles (11.3 ppg), and Maci Thornton (12.6 ppg) were all named second-team All-D9 selections. Miles, a junior, in 2013, went on to score 1,247 career points, while Thornton, a sophomore in 2013, finished her career as the second-leading scorer in school history with 1,579 career points and went on to score over 1,000 points at NCAA D3 Messiah College.