The girls’ Final Four is set in the D9Sports Tournament of Champions with three North Clarion teams and Coudersport set to do battle to see who the fans deem the best team of the D9Sports.com Era (2001-present).
(Photo: North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup gives some instructions to Gabby Schmader and Amya Green during the 2020 KSAC title game. Three of Dreihaup’s teams advanced to the Final Four of the D9Sports Tournament of Champions. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
The first semifinal match is a rematch of sorts of this year’s District 9 Class 1A title game, as 2006 Coudersport, the seventh seed out of the East Region, takes on 2020 North Clarion, the fifth seed out of the West Region.
The second semifinal game is an all-Frills Corners matchup with 2018 North Clarion, the fourth seed out of the South, facing Cinderella 2019 North Clarion, the 14th seed out of the Midwest Region.
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 championship game, which will start at 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, and run through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, April 22.
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(7-E) 2006 Coudersport vs. (5-W) 2020 North Clarion
This a matchup of one of the storied programs in District 9 in Coudersport vs. one of the newer top programs in North Clarion.
2006 Coudersport moved into the Final Four with wins over No. 14 2009 Cranberry (75 percent to 25 percent), No. 6 2019 A-C Valley (68 percent to 32 percent), No. 3 2002 Coudersport (74 percent to 26 percent) and No. 1 Union (57 percent to 43 percent).
2020 North Clarion beat No. 12 2015 Karns City (65 percent to 35 percent), No. 13 2008 St. Marys (54 percent to 46 percent), No. 9 2010 West Forest (57 percent to 43 percent), and No. 2 2017 North Clarion (66 percent to 34 percent) to reach this point.
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.
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.
(14-MW) 2019 North Clarion vs. (4-S) 2018 North Clarion
This is a battle of a pair of Terry Dreihaup-coached teams that included some of the same players, including one starter – Abby Gatesman.
2019 North Clarion moved into the Final Four with victories over No. 3 2009 Elk County Catholic (55 percent to 45 percent), No. 6 2008 Coudersport (58 percent to 42 percent), No. 2 2005 Union (55 percent to 45 percent), and No. 5 2011 Coudersport (64 percent to 36 percent).
2018 North Clarion advanced to the Final with wins over 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), and 2019 Kane (63 percent to 37 percent).
North Clarion 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.
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.