The D9Sports Tournament of Champions is into the Elite 8 now with the girls’ side in the East and West Regions.
(Photo of the 2006 Coudersport girls’ basketball team, which finished second to Union in District 9. Photo courtesy of Brian Furman)
Advancing to the Elite Eight in the East were top-seeded 2006 Union and No. 7 2006 Coudersport while advancing from West were second-seeded 2017 North Clarion and No. 5 2020 North Clarion.
Here is how this works. You have until 11:59 p.m. Saturday to vote for which team you think is the best in each matchup. At that point, the winners will advance into the Final Four.
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(7-E) 2006 Coudersport vs. (1-E) 2006 Union
2006 Coudersport moved into the Elite 8 with wins over No. 14 2009 Cranberry, 75 percent to 25 percent, No. 6 2019 A-C Valley, 68 percent to 32 percent, and No. 3 2002 Coudersport, 74 percent to 26 percent.
2006 Union moved into the Elite 8 with wins over No. 17 2008 Karns City, 81 percent to 19 percent, No. 8 2003 Punxsutawney, 67 percent to 33 percent, and No. 5 2001 Coudersport, 58 percent to 42 percent.
These teams met in the 2006 District 9 Class 1A championship game with Union rolling to a 75-58 win thanks to 31 points and 10 rebounds from Bethany Koch, who scored 20 of her points in the game’s first 9:53. Andrea Mortimer added 23 points and nine rebounds for the Golden Damsels, while Kelly McVay led Coudersport with 11 points. Danielle Furman, Jessica Wilson and Kristy Kamper each added 10 points.
Coudersport finished 2006 with a 25-3 record and beat Saegertown, 63-51, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs and losing to Monessen, 50-36, in the second round. The Lady Falcons 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. Furman, a senior, (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 Wilson (11.7 ppg, 9.0 rpg), just a sophomore, were third-team selections.
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 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 Koch (17.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg) and 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.
(5-W) 2020 North Clarion vs. (2-W) 2017 North Clarion
2020 North Clarion beat No. 12 2015 Karns City, 65 percent to 35 percent, No. 13 2008 St. Marys, 54 percent to 46 percent, and No. 9 2010 West Forest, 57 percent to 43 percent.
2017 North Clarion beat No. 15 2018 Punxsutawney, 77 percent to 23 percent, No. 10 Punxsutawney, 79 percent to 21 percent, and No. 3 2012 Keystone, 76 percent to 24 percent.
Both of these teams were coached by Terry Dreihaup.
The 2020 She-Wolves 26-1 in the COVID-19 virus put a halt to their season in the PIAA Quarterfinals. The lone loss came 42-40 to Coudersport in the District 9 Class 1A championship game stopping a string of three D9 titles in a row. North Clarion bounced back from that loss to beat Sewickley Academy, 47-36, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before knocking off defending state champion Berlin Brothersvalley, 62-43, in the second round. They were slated to play WPIAL champion Rochester in the quarterfinals when the PIAA suspended play. North Clarion was led by four seniors including Abby Gatesman, a Clarion University recruit, who was an all-state selection as a junior. Gatesman was averaging 14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 5.1 apg, and 3.1 spg while hitting 49 3-pointers when the stoppage occurred and had amassed 1,232 career points while being named the KSAC MVP. Mackenzie Bauer (11.6 ppg, 4.0 spg, 2.9 apg), Gabby Schmader (8.5 ppg, 2.6 apg, 2.2 spg, 32 3-pointers), and Haley Sherman (9.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 52.3 percent shooting) were the other three key seniors on the team.
North Clarion went 26-3 in 2017 and won the school’s first D9 girls’ basketball title by beating Otto-Eldred, 53-40, in the 1A championship game. The She-Wolves then dispatched Sewickley Academy, 57-38, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before beating Cornell, 68-58, in the second round and losing to Bishop Carroll, 58-49, in the quarterfinals. Tori Obenrader, a junior in 2017, won the first of her two D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year awards and was also named a first-team All-State selection in Class 1A after averaging 23.6 points, 15.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game while recording double-doubles in 28 of North Clarion’s 29 games and shooting 51 percent from the field with 53 3-pointers. She set the school record for points in a game with 684 that season and had over 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds heading into her senior season. Obenrader, who just finished her sophomore season at D2 Gannon where she was named a first-team All-PSAC West player while earning the PSAC Tournament MVP award after leading the Golden Knights to the PSAC title, finished her career with a school-record 2,115 points and 1,560 rebounds. Dreihaup was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year. Cassie Wagner added 8.3 ppg for North Clarion in 2017.