Karns City topped Conemaugh Township in the opening round of the PIAA Playoffs, but the Gremlins will face a much stiffer test on Saturday as they face undefeated Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (OLSH).
The OLSH Chargers are 21-0, winning all but one game by 10 or more points. The Chargers are perhaps the premier Class AA squad in the state, carrying a 37-game win streak and coming off of their third straight WPIAL title. OLSH seems to have it all, with good three-point shooting from Dante Spadafora, a big scorer in Jake DiMichele, and multiple players over 6’2” to provide size and rebounding. OLSH also loves to play fast-paced basketball, befitting their Chargers moniker. OLSH handled California, Shenango, Jeannette, and Greensburg Central Catholic to win the WPIAL, winning each game in a commanding fashion.
Karns City is 21-2 on the season, losing only one game in their classification. The Gremlins are led by the scoring of KSAC MVP Chase Beighley, who possesses the skill to convert at the rim while shooting well from range. Despite chopping off his fabled mullet, Nathan Waltman provides a solid dose of inside scoring for the Gremlins, using his bulk and high level of athleticism to fill up the scoresheet. Micah Rupp is another strong rebounder for Karns City, and the work of Rupp and Waltman will be essential to keep OLSH’s height at bay. Luke Cramer functions as a secondary scorer for the Gremlins, knocking down key shots to keep the squad rolling. Karns City bested Ridgway and Coudersport to win the D9 title and topped Conemaugh Township in the opening round of the PIAA Playoffs.
The Gremlins will face an uphill battle to emerge victorious, but Karns City possesses the strong coaching and skilled personnel necessary to pull off the upset. If Karns City can control the boards and contain the fast pace of OLSH, they should be in position to pull off a dramatic victory.
The game is scheduled for 1:00 PM, and can be watched on D9Sports.com and ExploreClarion.