With the D9Sports Tournament of Champions now in the second round, it’s time for the girls’ South Region.
(The 2019 Punxsutawney basketball team won the Class 4A championship. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)
Advancing to the second round in the South were top-seeded top-seeded 2003 Coudersport, No. 2 2019 Kane, No. 3 2014 Clarion, No. 4 2018 North Clarion, No. 5 2010 St. Marys, No. 6 2007 Union, No. 7 2020 Coudersport, and No. 9 2019 Punxsutawney.
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 Round of 16.
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(9) 2019 Punxsutawney vs. (1) 2003 Coudersport
2019 Punxsutawney defeated 2014 Bradford, 65 percent to 35 percent, in the first round, while 2003 Coudersport beat 2001 Brookville, 84 percent to 16 percent.
Punxsutawney went 22-2 in 2019 and beat St. Marys, 44-23, in the D9 Class 4A title game before Mike Carlson’s team lost to Blackhawk, 70-46, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. The Lady Chucks were led by a pair of District 9 second-team selections in senior Kate Horner (9.9 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.5 spg, 2.0 rpg, 40 3-pointers) and sophomore Sarah Weaver (10.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.5 spg, 27 3-pointers).
Coudersport, coached by Matt Splain, went 28-2 in 2003 and beat Cameron County, 40-37, in the District 9 Class 1A title game before advancing all the way to the PIAA semifinals by beating Juniata Valley, 66-54, Sewickley Academy, 59-38, Serra Catholic, 54-42, before losing to eventual PIAA champion Bishop Carroll, 53-33, in the semifinals. Splain was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, while Danyelle Whitman (11 ppg, 10 rpg) was a first-team District 9 All-District player.
(5) 2010 St. Marys vs. (4) 2018 North Clarion
2010 St. Marys rolled past 2018 Brookville, 82 percent to 18 percent, in the first round, while 2018 North Clarion beat 2003 Karns City, 56 percent to 44 percent.
St. Marys, under the direction of Bob Swanson, went 22-3 in 2010 and beat Punxsutawney, 49-42, to win the D9 3A title before topping Hampton, 64-55, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs behind an unbelievable performance by Kayla Ho’ohuli. Ho’ohuli, a junior, erupted for 52 points, 10 rebounds, nine steals and five blocked shots in the victory and at one point scored 23 consecutive points for the Lady Dutch while scoring 33 of her team’s 36 second-half points. St. Marys lost to Chartiers Valley, 70-45, in the second round. Ho’ohuli, who was on her way to 2,604 career points, was the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year for the second straight year – she won the award three straight season – after averaging 30.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.3 steals and 4.4 assists per game and hitting 88 3-pointers. She blocked 85 shots n the year as well and scored 30 or more points 11 times and 40 or more five times with the 52-point game. She was a first-team All-State player in Class 3A and ended her junior season with 1,951 career points.
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.
(6) 2007 Union vs. (3) 2014 Clarion
The 2007 Union team beat 2010 Cranberry, 70 percent to 30 percent, while 2014 Clarion knocked off 2016 Punxsutawney, 55 percent to 45 percent.
Josh Meeker’s 2007 Union squad was coming off a PIAA semifinals appearance in 2006 but had to replace co-D9Sports.com District 9 Players of the Year Andrea Mortimer and Bethany Koch. The Golden Damsels did so going 27-4 and winning their third straight D9 1A title with a 67-55 win over Coudersport. They then beat Ferndale, 49-38, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs before losing to Mt. Alvernia, 77-64, in the second round. Senior Tiffany Corle, who scored 1,108 career points, was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year after averaging 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game and scoring 20 or more points 12 times. Meeker was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year for the fourth straight season.
Clarion went 22-7 in 2014 and beat Keystone, 63-52, to win the D9 1A title before topping Frazier, 47-40, and Quigley Catholic, 41-33, to reach the PIAA quarterfinals were it lost to Bishop Guilfoyle, 55-45. Junior Maci Thornton led the Roger Walter-coached Lady Cats and was a first-team All-D9 selection after averaging 15.6 points per game on her way to 1,579 career points, the second-most in school history. She went on to score over 1,000 points at NCAA D3 Messiah College. Kyla Miles (16.0 ppg) was a second-team All-District 9 selection.
(7) 2020 Coudersport vs. (2) 2019 Kane
2020 Coudersport knocked off 2004 Karns City, 64 percent to 36 percent, with 2019 Kane beating 2015 Venango Catholic, 78 percent to 22 percent.
In 2020, Coudersport was 22-4 and in the PIAA quarterfinals in Class 1A when the season came to an abrupt halt because of COVID-19. The Lady Falcons, under Bob Tingley, beat North Clarion, 42-40, to win the District 9 Class 1A title and then topped Avella, 48-41, in the first round of the PIAA tournament before knocking off Blacklick Valley, 54-46, in the second round. Coudersport was led by the NTL MVP Sarah Chambers (13.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.7 spg, 2.6 apg, 4.2 bpg) as well as Rosalyn Page (9.4 ppg), Mikayla Gunn (8.2 ppg), and Lauren Stimaker (7.7 ppg).
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.