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North Clarion Girls in PIAA Quarterfinals for First Time; Kennedy Rolls Past O-E

By Chris Rossetti

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – From never winning a district title to being three wins from a state title.

(Cover photo of North Clarion’s Tori Obenrader. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

That is what it has become for the 2017 North Clarion girls’ basketball team after a 68-58 win over WPIAL runner-up Cornell in the second round of the PIAA Class 1A playoffs Thursday night at Slippery Rock University’s Morrow Field House.

“They are in there screaming ‘Elite Eight, Elite Eight,’” North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup said after exiting the victorious locker room. “What can you say? We started out saying there were 32 (teams) let’s make it 16. And I said let’s make it eight. They played a heck of a game tonight, every single one of them.”

A pair of runs – one in the second quarter and one in the third quarter – allowed North Clarion (26-2) to take control of the game.

In the second quarter, the She-Wolves used an 8-0 run that started with an Abby Gatesman 3-pointer and continued with an old-school 3-point play and then another basket from Tori Obenrader, who had a monster game with 37 points, 19 rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and two steals while shooting 60 percent from the field, to grab a 24-13 lead with 1:18 to go before the half.

Obenrader set the school’s single-season scoring record with her 37-point performance (she now has 661 points this year passing the previous record of 650 set by her cousin, Wendy (Obenrader) Franty, in 1991.

The lead was still eight, 26-18, at halftime, and then North Clarion started the second half with a 17-5 run that featured seven points from Obenrader, four each from Cassie Wagner and Ally Carll and two from Gabby Carll to push the advantage to 20, 43-23, with 2:14 to go in the third quarter.

“They played a heck of a game tonight, every single one of them,” Dreihaup said referencing all six of the players who saw action for North Clarion.

Cornell (21-6) didn’t back down without a fight ending the third quarter on a 9-2 run that cut the North Clarion lead to 13, 45-32, going to the fourth quarter thanks to a 3-pointer by Daeja Quick with 22.7 left in the quarter.

Quick then tried to take over the game in the fourth quarter netting 16 of her team-high 29 points in the fourth quarter.

Behind Quick, who at one point in the third quarter scored nine of 12 points for Cornell, the Raiders were able to cut the North Clarion lead to seven, 51-44, following a 3-pointer by Cy’Moni Harrison with five minutes to play.

The She-Wolves lead was still seven, 53-46, following a basket by Quick with 4:35 to go before North Clarion used strong free-throw shooting to push the lead back to 13, 61-48, following an Obenrader basket with 2:52 left. Obenrader hit four free throws and Gatesman two during the 8-2 spurt.

Gatesman added 11 points, her best scoring game since netting 12 vs. Cranberry Feb. 1, while Carll chipped in nine points and Wagner six points and nine rebounds despite being in foul trouble.

Jaleah Smith added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Cornell with Nysia Miles chipping in nine tallies.

North Clarion will now face District 6 champion Bishop Carroll in the quarterfinals Saturday at a site and time to be announced. Bishop Carroll beat Berlin Brothersvalley, the District 5 champion, 47-32, in a game it trailed at the half, 20-17.

NOTES: North Clarion outrebounded Cornell 47-32 … North Clarion turned the ball over 30 times compared to 15 for Cornell including 10 times in the fourth quarter … The She-Wolves shot 53.3 percent (24 of 45) for the game while holding Cornell to 32.9 percent (24 of 73) from the field.

NORTH CLARION 68, CORNELL 58

Score by Quarters

North Clarion 10 16 19 23 – 68
Cornell 8 10 14 26 – 58

NORTH CLARION – 68

Michaela Higgins 0 1-2 1, Cassie Wagner 3 0-0 6, Abby Gatesman 3 4-4 11, Tori Obenrader 12 10-13 37, Ally Carll 4 0-0 9, Gabby Carll 2 0-3 4. Totals 24 15-22 68.

CORNELL – 58

Nysia Miles 2 5-7 9, Daeja Quick 11 5-7 29, Jaleah Smith 5 1-2 11, Cy’Moni Harrison 2 0-0 5, Patience Gipson 0 0-0 0, Hailey Leitner 1 0-0 2, Maya Goins 0 0-0 0, Myla Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 22 11-16 58.

Three-pointers: North Clarion 5 (Obenrader 3, Gatesman, A. Carll). Cornell 3 (Quick 2, Harrison).

KENNEDY CATHOLIC 72, OTTO-ELDRED 34

DUBOIS, Pa. – District 10 champion Kennedy Catholic wasted little time dispatching of District 9 runner-up Otto-Eldred, 72-34, in the second round of the PIAA Class 1A girls’ playoffs Thursday at DuBois High School.

The Golden Eagles raced out to a 22-9 lead after one quarter thanks to eight points from Gillian Fisher and six from Makayla Shannonhouse.

Fisher led all scorers with 24 points adding eight more in an 18-point third quarter for Kennedy Catholic (24-1), which led 39-17 at halftime and 57-25 at the end of the third.

Shannonhouse added 10 points, as did freshman Malia Magestro. Sophia Berardi chipped in seven points and 11 rebounds.

Camryn Thomas paced Otto-Eldred (18-9), which won a PIAA playoff game for the first time in school history this year, with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Thomas ended the season averaging a double-double at 16 ppg and 10.1 rpg.

Ali Cousins and Tiffany Bair each chipped in six points for the Lady Terrors.

Kennedy Catholic will face District 6 runner-up Juniata Valley, who knocked off WPIAL champion Winchester Thurston, 43-28, Saturday at a time and place to be determined.

KENNEDY CATHOLIC 72, OTTO-ELDRED 34

Score by Quarters

Kennedy Catholic 22 17 18 15 – 72
Otto-Eldred 9 8 8 9 – 34

KENNEDY CATHOLIC – 72

McKayla Fusco 0 4-4 4, Hannah Burns 0 2-2 2, Makayla Shannonhouse 5 0-1 10, Sophia Berardi 2 3-3 7, Gillian Fisher 10 4-5 24, Neely Whitehead 3 0-0 6, Isbelle Moroco 0 0-0 0, Caitlyn Figuly 1 0-0 2, Malia Magestro 4 1-2 10, Karrington McKnight 1 0-0 2, Makayla Utlak 0 0-0 0, Allie Suhar 2 1-2 5, Katy Williams 0 0-0 0, Leah Lombardi 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 15-19 72.

OTTO-ELDRED – 34

Ali Cousins 2 2-2 6, Lauren Cousins 0 0-0 0, Alyssa Shelander 1 0-0 2, Tiffany Bair 2 2-2 6, Britney Greeley 0 0-0 0, Jade Spinney 0 0-0 0, Camryn Thomas 4 6-8 14, Emily Smith 1 0-0 2, Haylee Frederick 2 0-0 4, Madison Dalton 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 10-12 34.

Three-pointers: Kennedy Catholic 1 (Magestro).



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