The D9Sports Tournament of Champions moves into the Sweet 16 with the regional semifinals in both the girls’ East Region and West Region.
(Photo: The 2010 West Forest Lady Indians advanced to the second round of the PIAA playoffs)
Advancing to the Sweet 16 out of the East Region were top-seeded 2006 Union, No. 3 2002 Coudersport, No. 5 2001 Coudersport, and No. 7 2006 Coudersport.
Advancing to the Sweet 16 out of the West Region were second-seeded 2017 North Clarion, No. 3 2012 Keystone, No. 5 2020 North Clarion, and No. 9 2010 West Forest.
Here is how this works. You have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to vote for which team you think is the best in each matchup. At that point, the winners will advance into the Elite 8.
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(5-E) 2001 Coudersport vs. (1-E) 2006 Union
2001 Coudersport breezed into the Sweet 16 with wins over 2017 Karns City, 75 percent to 25 percent, and 2006 Punxsutawney, 70 percent to 30 percent. It will face 2006 Union, who advanced with wins over 2008 Karns City, 81 percent to 19 percent, and 2003 Punxsutawney, 67 percent to 33 percent.
This matchup features a pair of teams that went a combined 56-4, and each features a D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year.
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.
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.
(7-E) 2006 Coudersport vs. (3-E) 2002 Coudersport
The all-Lady Falcons matchup happened after 2002 Coudersport beat 2009 Cranberry, 75 percent to 25 percent, and 2019 A-C Valley, 68 percent to 32 percent, and 2006 Coudy topped 2002 Punxsutawney, 62 percent to 38 percent, and upset No. 2 2013 Clarion, 56 percent to 44 percent.
It’s a matchup of a Matt Splain-coached Lady Falcons team that won the 2002 D9 title and a Brian Green-led Coudy squad that lost to Union in the 2006 title game but advanced to the second round of the PIAA playoffs.
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 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. 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.
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 Lady Falcons were led by second-team All-D9 selection Ashley Reed.
(9-W) 2010 West Forest vs. (5-W) 2020 North Clarion
2010 West Forest beat 2011 Cranberry, 62 percent to 38 percent, then upset top-seeded 2004 Coudersport, 62 percent to 38 percent to reach the Sweet 16, while 2020 North Clarion topped 2015 Karns City, 65 percent to 35 percent, then beat 2008 St. Marys, 54 percent to 46 percent.
This is an intriguing matchup, as these teams are very familiar with each other. West Forest head coach Bob Wachob coached North Clarion assistant coach Terri Obenrader, while North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup, also a West Forest graduate, is the dad of one of the leaders for the Lady Indians, Alyssa Dreihaup.
West Forest went 23-5 in 2010 and lost to Elk County Catholic, 38-34, in the District 9 1A title game before bouncing back to beat Southern Fulton, 52-19, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. The Lady Indians fell to Vincentian Academy, 54-32, in the second round of the PIAA’s. West Forest was led by senior Geena Sneeringer, a first-team All-District 9 choice who averaged 19.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 5.7 steals and 3.0 assists per game and scored 2,030 career points, the most in school history. Also on that team was Alyssa Dreihaup (7.2 ppg), Amanda Carll (9.1 ppg), and Grace Wallace (8.0 ppg).
North Clarion was 26-1 in the COVID-19 virus put a halt to their season in the PIAA Quarterfinals. The She-Wolves 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.
(3-W) 2012 Keystone vs. (2-W) 2017 North Clarion
2012 Keystone knocked off 2010 Elk County Catholic, 71 percent to 29 percent, in the first round before topping 2012 Bradford, 53 percent to 47 percent, in the second round, while 2017 North Clarion rolled past a pair of Punxsutawney teams beating 2018 Punxsy, 77 percent to 23 percent, in the first round, and 2005 Punxsutawney, 79 percent to 21 percent, in the second round.
Keystone, under first-year head coach A.J. Johnson, went 26-2 in 2012 beating Clarion, 39-25, to win the D9 Class 2A title before topping Winchester Thurston, 74-33, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs and losing to North Catholic, 56-31, in the second round. The Lady Panthers only two losses came in the postseason with their first loss of the year coming to Cranberry, 57-53, in the KSAC title game after going 22-0 in the regular season. Keystone was led by A.J. Johnson’s two daughters, senior Morgan Johnson and freshman Madison Johnson, who both went on to successful college careers. Morgan (18.3 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 4.8 spg, 3.1 apg) was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year and finished her career with 1,606 points. She went on to play NCAA Division I basketball at Rhode Island. Madison (11.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 2.9 spg) was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Rookie of the Year and a third-team All-D9 selection. She went on to finish her career with 1,551 points and first played at NCAA D1 St. Francis before transferring to D2 Slippery Rock, where she scored over 800 career points.
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. She-Wolves head coach Terry Dreihaup was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year. Cassie Wagner added 8.3 ppg for North Clarion in 2017.