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2021 Basketball Playoffs

2021 District 9 Boys’ Basketball Playoff Preview

Brookville's Jace Miner. Photo courtesy of Sara Haines.

An unpredictable District 9 boys’ basketball regular season has reached its climax – the 2021 postseason. 

COVID-19 threw a little bit of a wrench into things, but teams were able to make it through the season and they will now play for the ultimate prize. 

Because of COVID, only the district champion will advance in each classification. 

2021 Basketball Playoff coverage on is provided in part by Olewine Financial Group, Fran Morelli Sales & Service, Morelli’s Family Restaurant, Computer Support, Allegheny Grille of Foxburg, Oil Country Crates, Simpson Excavating (814-379-3346, Mike’s Bilo Foods Reynoldsville, BGM Custom Wear by Brookville Glove

Here’s a look at how things stack up in each classification.

Check out our playoff hub here for complete 2021 postseason coverage. 


The Seeds: No. 1 Elk County Catholic, No. 2 Cameron County, No. 3 Johnsonburg, No. 4 Clarion, No. 5 A-C Valley, No. 6 Union, No. 7 DuBois Central Catholic, No. 8 Otto-Eldred, No. 9 Sheffield 

To the surprise of no one, Elk County Catholic is the top seed with a record of 18-4. The Crusaders come in winners of five of six, losing to Class 3A St. Marys in their regular-season finale. They feature a balanced offensive attack with three players averaging in double figures – Mark Kraus (14.5 ppg.), Charlie Breindel (11.1 ppg.) and Mason McAllister (10.8 ppg.). 

Cameron County enters as the No. 2 seed after a 14-4 regular season, which included an impressive pair of wins over Johnsonburg, among others. ECC did beat them twice, though both were competitive games. The Red Raiders come in 3-2 in their last five games, including a split with Class 4A St. Marys. Cameron is a defensive-minded club with good size, led by Caden Beldin (13.6 ppg.) and Hayden Brown (12.4), Gavin Morton (8.4) and Dylan Guisto (7.8). 

Johnsonburg is an intriguing No. 3 seed at 12-4 overall, including a pair of wins over top-seed Elk County Catholic. Cameron County also beat them twice during the regular season. The Rams come in winners of four of five and are led by Cameron Stelene (13.1 ppg.), Gabe Watts (11.8 ppg.) and Eric Christoff (10.7 ppg.). 

The No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, Clarion and A-C Valley, will square off in a quarterfinal matchup that features teams with some prolific scorers. Clarion averages just over 65 ppg. and featured four players that average in double figures, led by Cal German at 20.2. A-C Valley, meanwhile, has the program’s all-time leading scorer in Levi Orton, who checks in at 27.4 ppg. Also look out for Clarion’s Beau Verdill (15.0 ppg.), Christian Simko (11.7 ppg.) and Hunter Craddock (11.4 ppg.) as well as A-C Valley’s Tanner Merwin, Eli Penny, Broc Weigle and Jay Clover. The teams met back on Jan. 12, a 75-64 Clarion win. 

Clarion’s Cal German. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here

No. 6 seed Union enters with a record of 11-9, including three-straight wins to close the regular season. They feature a pair of double-digit scorers in Caden Rainey (16.8 ppg.) and Karter Vogle (11.6 ppg.)

No. 7 seed DuBois Central Catholic comes in with a record of 13-9, including a win over Clarion on a buzzer-beater. They will draw the No. 2 seed Cameron County in the quarterfinals. The Cardinals average 57.1 ppg. and are led by Alex Srock (13.0 ppg), Damon Foster (10.1 ppg., Dante Armanini (9.0 ppg.) and Jalen Kosko (8.2 ppg.)

The opening round game features No. 8 Otto-Eldred (8-8)  hosting No. 9 Sheffield (10-10) on Monday. The game features a couple of prolific scorers in the Terrors’ Jake Merry (18.1 ppg.) and Sheffield’s Tyler Hepinger (17.7 ppg.). The Terrors’ come in hot, winners of six in a row, while Sheffield finished the season 3-3 in its final six games. Also watch out for O-E’s Gavin Jimmerson, Cole Sebastian and Braden Maholic, as well as Sheffield’s Tony Richards, Lucas McNeal and Connor Finch. 


The Seeds: No. 1 Karns City, No. 2 Coudersport, No. 3 Keystone, No. 4 Redbank Valley, No. 5 Ridgway, No. 6 Clarion-Limestone, No. 7 Smethport

The Karns City Gremlins come in as the top seed with a record of 20-2, with their only blemishes to Redbank Valley and Brookville. Included in that was a 14-game winning streak. They come in averaging just over 67 ppg., led by the program’s all-time leading scorer, Chase Beighley (19.0 ppg.), as well as Nathan Waltman (15.9 ppg.), Luke Cramer (10.8 ppg.) and Micah Rupp (6.8 ppg.)

Karns City will draw the winner of the 4-5 matchup between Redbank Valley (15-6) and Ridgway (5-8), two teams that have very contrasting styles. Redbank Valley wants to get up and down the floor. They average 66.0 ppg., led by the trio of Bryson Bain (18.9 ppg.), Chris Marshall (17.6 ppg.) and Maquese Gardlock (15.7 ppg). Ridgway, meanwhile, gets it done with defense. Offensively, they are led by Dan Park (12.2 ppg.) and Dom Allegretto (7.5 ppg.). Redbank Valley comes in winners of six in a row. 

Karns City’s Chase Beighley. Photo courtesy of Mary Rearick.

The 3-6 quarterfinal matchup features Keystone (14-4) and Clarion-Limestone (8-11). Keystone comes in winners of six of seven. They have beat C-L twice this season by scores of 61-55 and 60-54. The Panthers are led by a trio of double figures scorers in Brett Wingard (11.8 ppg.), Colin Say (11.8 ppg.) and Brandon Pierce (10.9 ppg.). Clarion-Limestone, meanwhile, is 3-3 in its last six games. They are led by the talented Hayden Callen (19.8 ppg.), as well as Jordan Hesdon (10.6 ppg.).

The 2-7 quarterfinal game pits a pair of North Tier League rivals – Coudersport (12-5) and Smethport (9-9) – against one another. The two teams met back on Jan. 23, a 56-38 win for the Falcons, who come in 3-3 in their last six games. The Falcons feature one of D9’s top scorers in Hayden Keck (22.5 ppg.), as well as Dalton Keglovitz (12.1 ppg.) and Derek Easton (9.6 ppg.). Smethport is led by Layne Shall at 14.1 ppg. and Alex Ognen (11.1 ppg.). 


The Seeds: No.1 Brookville, No. 2 Kane, No. 3 Moniteau

The Brookville Raiders (18-2) have enjoyed a terrific season and enter as the top seed. They enjoyed win streaks of 10 and seven games during the regular season, and enter as the clear favorite. Jace Miner is one of District 9’s top players, scoring at an 18.1 ppg. clip. The Raiders come into the tournament averaging 64 points per game, and also feature Hunter Geer (9.4 ppg.), Dany Lauer (9.1 ppg.), and Robert Keth (7.4 ppg.). 

They will meet the winner of Kane (7-5) and Moniteau (7-14) in the title game. The Wolves come in 5-3 in their last eight games, which includes wins over Johnsonburg and Ridgway. Carson Whiteman n averages 15.8 ppg, while Zuke Smith checks in a 7.8 and Mason Zuzek 6.1. They will be facing a Moniteau team that averages 48.9 ppg. as a team, led by Kyle Pry (14.1)


The Seeds: No. 1 Clearfield, No. 2 St. Marys, No. 3 Punxsutawney, No. 4 Bradford

Clearfield comes in with a record of 17-5 and riding a 10-game winning streak into postseason action. Included in that is a pair of wins over No. 3 seed Punxsy. The Bison check in at just over 58 points per game, and are led by 1,000-point scorer Karson Rumsky (17.8 ppg.). He is part of a talented 1-2 duo that also includes Cole Miller (15.0 ppg). The Bison will be facing a Bradford squad that enters with a record of 8-10. The Owls come into the playoffs 3-3 in their last six games. Cam Austin leads Bradford offensively at 11.5 ppg., followed by Jarid Wilmoth (8.3 ppg.) and Dalton Dixon (7.9 ppg.). 

St. Marys is the No. 2 seed and comes in playing its best basketball of the season. The Dutch (13-6) ended on a 5-game winning streak which included victories over Elk County Catholic, Cameron County and a pair over Coudersport. They are a team that is led by its defense, and offensively features the likes of Holden Housler (8.0 ppg.), Mitchell Reiter (7.9 ppg.) and Luke Lasko (6.9 ppg.). They will be facing a Punxsutawney (6-9) team that won three straight to close the regular season over Moniteau, Brockway, and DuBois Central Catholic. The Chucks feature a pair of double-digit per game scorers in Nick Humble (10.2 ppg.) and Andrew Young (10.1 ppg.) as well as Gabe Kengersky, Ethan Presolid and Noah Weaver.

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