The D9Sports Tournament of Champions is in the Sweet 16 with the regional semifinals in both the girls’ Midwest and South Regions on tap.
(The 2011 Coudersport girls’ basketball team won the District 9 Class 1A title. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
Advancing to the Sweet 16 out of the Midwest Region were second-seeded 2005 Union, fifth-seeded 2011 Coudersport, No. 8 2011 St. Marys, and No. 14 2019 North Clarion.
Advancing to the Sweet 16 out of the South Region were top-seeded No. 2 2019 Kane, No. 4 2018 North Clarion, No. 6 2007 Union, and No. 9 2019 Punxsutawney.
Here is how this works. You have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday 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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(8-MW) 2011 St. Marys vs. (5-MW) 2011 Coudersport
2011 St. Marys advanced to the Sweet 16 with wins over 2017 Coudersport and top-seeded 2012 Cranberry, while 2011 Coudersport beat 2020 Redbank Valley and 2014 Karns City.
In 2011, these teams actually met on the court with St. Marys winning 73-55 Dec. 17, 2010, at the Keystone Tournament.
St. Marys, coached by Bob Swanson, went 22-2 in 2011 and beat Bradford, 53-37, in the D9 3A title game before losing to New Castle, 69-23, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs in a game that saw star guard Kayla Ho’ohuli lost to an injury six minutes into the contest. Ho’ohuli won the D9Sports.com District 9 Player of the Year award for the third straight year after averaging 28.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 7.5 steals, 4.3 assists, and 3.8 blocks per game. She finished her career with 2,604 points and went on to a standout career at NCAA Division 1 Canisius. Also for the Lady Dutch, Adair Gennocro scored 8.8 points per game.
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.
(14-MW) 2019 North Clarion vs. (2-MW) 2005 Union
2019 North Clarion upset 2009 Elk County Catholic and then upset 2008 Coudersport to reach the Sweet 16, while 2005 Union beat 2020 Punxsutawney and 2018 Coudersport.
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.
Union went 27-3 in 2005 and beat Elk County Catholic, 59-49, to win the District 9 Class 1A title and then topped Duquesne, 74-53, and Conemaugh Valley, 56-53, to advance to the PIAA quarterfinals where it lost to Kennedy Catholic, 60-59, when Alexis George hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds to play. Golden Damsels head coach Josh Meeker was named the D9Sports.com District 9 Coach of the Year, junior Andrea Mortimer (16 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.0 spg, 2.3 apg) was a first-team All-D9 selection, and Bethan Koch (13.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.6 spg, 2.3 apg) was a third-team All-D9 choice as a junior. Both Mortimer (1,550 points) and Koch (1,332 points) went over 1,000 points in their careers with Koch playing at NCAA D2 Clarion University.
(9-S) 2019 Punxsutawney vs. (4-S) 2018 North Clarion
2019 Punxsutawney topped 2014 Bradford and then upset 2003 Coudersport to reach the Sweet 16, while 2018 North Clarion beat 2003 Karns City and 2010 St. Marys.
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).
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-S) 2007 Union vs. (2-S) 2019 Kane
2007 Union knocked off 2010 Cranberry and then beat 2014 Clarion by four votes to reach the Sweet 16, while 2019 Kane beat 2015 Venango Catholic and 2002 Coudersport.
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.
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.