Two District 9 titles and a consolation game will be contested Friday in playoff action.
DISTRICT 9 CLASS 1A BOYS’ CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
(2) NORTH CLARION VS. (1) ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC
When and Where: 7:30 p.m. at DuBois High School
PIAA Playoff Outlook: Winner plays the sixth-place team out of the WPIAL, Leechburg, while the loser faces the second-place team out of District 6, Bishop Carroll.
Records: North Clarion 21-2; ECC 25-1
How They Got Here: North Clarion beat DuBois Central Catholic, 66-49, in the quarterfinals and Clarion-Limestone, 42-40, in the semifinals; ECC beat Austin, 61-38, in the quarterfinals and Johnsonburg, 62-44, in the semifinals.
North Clarion Leading Scorers: Kyle Mills (18.4 ppg), Tyler McCord-Wolbert (12.0 ppg), Korey Mills (10.8 ppg), Logan Minich (10.0 ppg), Sam Minich (7.8 ppg)
ECC Leading Scorers: Alex Breindel (13.2 ppg), Regis Wortman (12.4 ppg), Alec Wehler (8.0 ppg)
Last District 9 Title: North Clarion 1985 in Class 1A; ECC 2017 in Class 1A
Notes: While championship-game appearances are old hat to ECC, the Crusaders are making their fourth straight and their 15th since 1999, North Clarion is back in the title game for the first time in 20 years. The Wolves last D9 title appearance came in 1999 when the Mike Carr-led team fell in the finals to ECC, 51-45. Before that, you have to go back to 1986 when North Clarion lost to Clarion, for a Wolves finals appearance … ECC is looking for its 24th D9 title, all but three of which have come in 1A (One came in Class B and two in Class 2A).
DISTRICT 9 CLASS 2A GIRLS’ CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
(2) A-C VALLEY VS. (1) KANE
When and Where: 7 p.m. at Keystone High School
PIAA Playoff Outlook: The winner gets the fourth-place team out of District 10, either Cambridge Springs or Saegertown, while the loser gets the third-place team out of District 10, either Cambridge Springs or Saegertown
Records: A-C Valley 20-3, Kane 22-3
How They Got Here: A-C Valley beat Keystone, 38-27, in the semifinals; Kane beat Clarion, 63-51, in the semifinals.
A-C Valley Leading Scorers: Cami McNany 12.9 ppg, Olivia Boocks 12.6 ppg, Kylee Eaton 11.8 ppg
Kane Leading Scorers: Ella Marconi 23.4 ppg, Hannah Buhl 8.9 ppg, Emily Bucheit 8.4 ppg
Last District 9 Title: A-C Valley Never (the Lady Falcons made their first appearance in a title game in Class 1A last year: Kane Never (the Lady Wolves are 0-7 in D9 title games.
Notes: It’s been an emotional week for Kane. Head coach Dave Kiehl suffered a heart attack right at the end of the Lady Wolves semifinal win over Clarion Tuesday. Kiehl was rushed to Penn Highlands in DuBois and had surgery. He was released from the hospital Thursday and appears to be doing as well as can be expected. With Kiehl out, look for former East Forest head coach Kerry Wolbert, an assistant on the staff, to run the show for the Lady Wolves. Wolbert has plenty of playoff experience as a head man … Both of these teams appeared in championship games last year with A-C Valley losing to North Clarion, 52-49, in Class 1A, and Kane dropping a 63-45 decision to Coudersport in 2A. It was the second straight year the Lady Wolves lost to Coudy in the 2A title game, as they fell, 47-38, in 2017 … Marconi is one of the, if not the, best player in District 9 and averages a season double-double.
DISTRICT 9 CLASS 1A BOYS’ CONSOLATION GAME
(5) JOHNSONBURG VS. (3) CLARION-LIMESTONE
When and Where: 6 p.m. at DuBois High School
PIAA Outlook: The winner plays the District 6 champion, Juniata Valley, while the loser faces the WPIAL champion, Nazareth Prep.
Records: Johnsonburg 16-9, C-L 21-4
How They Got Here: Johnsonburg beat Cameron County, 42-37, in the quarterfinals but lost to ECC, 62-44, in the semifinals; C-L beat Otto-Eldred, 61-58, in the quarterfinals but lost to North Clarion, 42-40, in the semifinals.
Johnsonburg Leading Scorers: Austin Green 18.2 ppg, Isaac Schloder 9.8 ppg
C-L Leading Scorers: Deion Deas 20.6 ppg, Ian Callen 18.1 ppg in 14 games, Hayden Callen 16.4 ppg
Notes: Johnsonburg has lost three of its last four games after a five-game win streak but is just 6-6 in its last 12 games. The Rams won the D9 title in 1A a year ago … C-L’s loss in the semifinals broke a 17-game win streak for the Lions, who have a pair of 1,000-point scorers in their lineup in Deion Deas and Ian Callen … C-L has qualified for the PIAA playoffs for the first time since winning the Class 1A D9 title in 2015.