Connect with us


NEW GROUND: Otto-Eldred Faces Formidable Foe in Alquippa in Quest to Reach PIAA Class 2A Title Game

CLARION, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Where no Otto-Eldred boys basketball team has gone before.

The Terrors are covering new ground, advancing to the PIAA Class 2A semifinals for the first time in school history.

No Otto-Eldred boys team had ever been to the quarterfinals before this season.

The ride has been a wild one.

The Terrors held off Erie First Christian Academy on Saturday afternoon at Tippin Gymnasium on the campus of PennWest Clarion, hanging on despite not scoring a point over the final two-plus minutes of the game, for a 42-40 victory.

Otto-Eldred (26-2) knocked off three private schools to reach the semifinals — Greensburg Central Catholic, Serra Catholic and Erie First.

Waiting for them at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Tippin in the semifinals is a team that has a wealth of experience at making deep runs in the state playoffs: Aliquippa.

The Quips (23-6) reached the title game last year and last won a state championship in 2016.

The last District 9 boys basketball team to win a state title was Elk County Catholic in 2006 in Class A.

The only other D9 boys teams to win a state title were: East Brady in Class A in 1980 and Kane in Class 2A in 1949.

Twelve District 9 boys teams have reached the state championship game and lost: Brookville in Class 3A in 2021; Johnsonburg in Class A in 2013; DuBois Central Catholic in Class A in 2007; Punxsutawney in Class 4A in 1992; Karns City in Class A in 1982; Union in Class A in 1974; A-C Valley in Class A in 1973; Karns City in Class A in 1972; East Brady in Class 2A in 1968; Coudersport in Class A in 1964; Clarion in Class A in 1962; Coudersport in Class A in 1952;

Aliquippa is also experienced at winning its district. The Quips grabbed their 13th District 7 title earlier in March. The football team at the school also won WPIAL title. The double championship has only happened 19 times in the 100-year history of the WPIAL.

The Quips, though, had trouble against Bishop Canevin in the quarterfinals, going 4 of 17 from 3-point range and leading by just a point at the half.

Things changed for Aliquippa markedly in the final two quarters as the Quips attacked the rim more, went on a 10-0 run in the third and won 67-56.

Aliquippa’s scoring was balanced in the Canevin win — as it has been all season.

Demarkus Walker led the way with 18 points. Cameron Lindsey added 16, Quinin Goode 13 and Donovan Walker 12.

Otto-Eldred is also a balanced team that can stifle opponents with its defense.

The Terrors were led against Erie First by Brax Caldwell, who scored 14 points. Shene Thomas added eight, Austin Cousins seven and leading-scorer on the season, Landon Francis, six in the low-scoring victory.

Francis is averaging 14 points per game this season. Manning Splain and Thomas have added 12 per night.

Otto-Eldred’s PIAA run is even more remarkable given the Terrors didn’t even win the District 9 championship, falling to Clarion-Limestone in the title game.

Otto-Eldred is the only one of the four teams remaining in the Class 2A state playoffs to not win a district title and the only one of six out of the 24 teams remaining in all classes to not be a district champ.