The D9Sports Tournament of Champions is into the Elite 8 now with the girls’ side in the Midwest and South Regions.
(Photo of the 2019 North Clarion Class 1A title team)
Advancing to the Elite Eight in the South were No. 2 2019 Kane and No. 4 2018 North Clarion. Moving into the Elite Eight in the Midwest were No. 5 2011 Coudersport and No. 14 2019 North Clarion.
Here is how this works. You have until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday 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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(4-S) 2018 North Clarion vs. (2-S) 2019 Kane
2018 North Clarion advanced to the Elite Eight No. 13 2003 Karns City (56 percent to 44 percent), No. 5 2010 St. Marys (53 percent to 47 percent), No. 9 2019 Punxsutawney (63 percent to 37 percent).
2019 Kane moved into the Elite Eight with wins over No. 15 2015 Venango Catholic (78 percent to 22 percent), No. 7 2020 Coudersport (77 percent to 23 percent), and No. 6 2007 Union (52 percent to 48 percent).
North Clarion in 2018 went 27-1 and beat A-C Valley, 52-49, to win the District 9 Class 1A title, its second in a row, and then topped Cornell, 54-46, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing in overtime to Farrell, 63-58, in the second round. Senior Tori Obenrader was the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year for the second straight year and a first-team Class 1A All-State player for the second consecutive year after averaging 24.2 points and 15.1 rebounds per game while adding 3.5 assists, 2.6 steals, and 1.5 blocks per contest. She recorded double-doubles in 24 of her 28 games and scored 25 or more points 13 times while topping 30 points three times. She also had 15 or more rebounds 16 times, including four games of at least 20, and shot 54.5 percent from the field while hitting 36 3-pointers. She finished her career with a school-record 2,115 points, the fifth-most in D9 history, and 1,560 rebounds. She is currently playing at NCAA D2 Gannon were she led the Knights to the PSAC Title and was named the PSAC Tournament MVP after also garnering first-team All-PSAC West honors in 2020 after being the PSAC West Freshman of the Year in 2019. Head coach Terry Dreihaup was named the co-D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year along with Brookville’s Mark Powell.
Kane went 25-4 in 2019 and beat A-C Valley, 61-52, in overtime to win the D9 Class 2A title, the first for the Lady Wolves, who then beat Saegertown, 45-29, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs and Brentwood, 52-47, in the second round before losing to West Middlesex, 61-31, in the quarterfinals. Ella Marconi, the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,723 career points, was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year after averaging 22.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.2 blocks and 1.0 assists per game and shooting 64.9 percent from the field and 71.0 percent from the free-throw line. Fellow senior Hannah Buhl (9.6 ppg, 6.1 spg, 2.5 to 1 assists-to-turnover ratio; Shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range while making 69 3-pointers) was a second-team All-District 9 selection, and head coach Dave Kiehl was the D9sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year.
(14-MW) 2019 North Clarion vs. (5-MW) 2011 Coudersport
2019 North Clarion moved into the Elite Eight with victories over No. 3 2009 Elk County Catholic (55 percent to 45 percent), No. 6 2008 Coudersport (58 percent to 42 percent), and No. 2 2005 Union (55 percent to 45 percent).
2011 Coudersport advanced to the Elite Eight by beating 2020 Redbank Valley (82 percent to 18 percent), No. 4 2014 Karns City (52 percent to 48 percent), and No. 8 2011 (56 percent to 44 percent).
North Clarion under Terry Dreihaup went 19-7 in 2019 and beat Johnsonburg, 43-41, to win its third straight D9 title in Class 1A before losing to Sewickley Academy, 44-35, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. The She-Wolves were led by first-team All-District 9 selection junior Abby Gatesman (14.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.8 spg, 1.2 bpg, Shot 47.7 percent from the field), who was also named a Class 1A All-State performer and went over 1,000 points in her career.
Coudersport went 25-2 in 2011 and won the D9 1A title over Union when Hannah Fink hit the game-winning shot with less than two seasons to play. Brian Green’s Lady Falcons then beat Aliquippa, 75-60, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing to Fort Cherry, 61-42, in the second round. DJ Cowburn (14.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.3 spg, 3.9 apg), and Jenna Matzinger (15.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.9 spg, 3.0 apg) were both named first-team All-District. Matzinger, a senior in 2011, finished her career with 1,081 points, while Cowburn, a junior in 2011, ended her career with 1,103. Fink (13.2 ppg) was a second-team All-D9 choice.