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D9 Champions to be Decided in Class 1A Boys/Girls, Class 3A Girls on Saturday

Otto-Eldred's Katie Sheeler. File photo by Patrick Crants.



Champions will be crowned in District 9 hoops on Saturday in Class 1A boys, 1A girls and 3A girls, while PIAA playoff seeding and spots remain up for grabs.

Here’s a look at the games.




(1) Elk County Catholic vs. (3) DuBois Central Catholic at Clarion University, 5 p.m.

So many storylines as these two teams meet in the championship game for the first time since 2010, a game won by DuBois Central Catholic.

ECC (21-5) got 16 points from Luke Jansen, 14 from Jordan Wasko in a 66-37 win over North Clarion, with Charlie Briendel joining that duo in averaging double figures on the season for the Crusaders. ECC went on a 22-3 run to blow the game open.

DCC (18-7), meanwhile, got 20 points and 17 rebounds from D9 Player of the Year candidate Alex Srock in a 50-39 win over Otto-Eldred. Jalen Kosko added 13 points and Andrew Green nine in the win.

The Cardinals are making their fifth title game appearance, while the Crusaders are back in very familiar territory. They last won the title in 2020 over Cameron County and are making their 27th appearance in the championship game under 40th-year head coach Aaron Straub, who is 23-4 in those games.

In fact, Straub laid claim to five D9 crowns before DCC coach Dom Varacallo was born in 1989. Varacallo was a key cog in the Cardinals’ state runner-up team in 2007, which included a thrilling 51-50 win over Kennedy Catholic in the semifinals.

The two teams split their regular season series, with the Cardinals breaking a 17-game losing streak to the Crusaders that lasted nearly 12 years with a 46-41 win on Jan. 7, and snapped ECC’s 26-game AML win streak in the process.

The winner will face the No. 5 team from the WPIAL in the first round of the PIAA playoffs on Tuesday, while the loser will face the No. 3 team from District 6.


(2) Otto-Eldred vs. (5) North Clarion at Clarion University, 11:30 a.m.

Both teams have already punched their tickets to the state playoffs, with the winner to take on the No. 2 team from District 6 and the loser to face the D-6 champion.

The Terrors (21-3) got 11 points from freshman Landon Francis and another freshman, Manning Splain, added 10, while Gavin Jimmerson also had 10 points in the semifinal loss to DuBois Central Catholic.

Collin Schmader had 11 points and Aiden Hartle 10 for North Clarion (16-10) in the loss to Elk County Catholic.


(8) Clarion at (6) Johnsonburg, 12 p.m.

The winner moves on and the loser’s season is done as the Bobcats and Rams battle for the final D9 spot in the Class 1A playoffs.

The winner will face the WPIAL champion.

Johnsonburg (12-13) led 38-31 going into the fourth quarter of its consolation semifinal game against Union and held them off, 48-47, as Jake Lobaugh poured in 15 points, Isaiah Jackson 13 and Luke Zimmerman eight.

Clarion, meanwhile, got 20 points from Christian Simko and 15 from Devon Lauer in a 61-54 road win over Cameron County in the consolation semifinals.

The Bobcats are looking to get back to the PIAA playoffs after advancing to the semifinals in 2021.



(1) Punxsutawney vs. (2) Redbank Valley at Clarion University, 1 p.m.

Punxsutawney is back in a spot they are used to being in, making their 10th straight D9 title game appearance and second straight in Class 3A after a 53-25 win over Moniteau in the semifinal.

In that game, the Lady Chucks (16-6) went on a 16-0 run to break the game open. Chloe Presloid had 14 points and nine rebounds in the win, while Danielle Griebel had 12 points and Avary Powell eight points.

The Lady Chucks haven’t lost a D9 title game since 2013 to Bradford in Class 4A.

They will be meeting a Redbank Valley team that won the Class 2A title in 2020.

That game was played Monday, while Redbank Valley has had more than a week off since a 49-39 semifinal win over Redbank Valley. The Lady Bulldogs forced 27 turnovers, as Alivia Huffman had 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Mylee Harmon had 10 points and Madison Foringer eight.

All three of those players average in double figures, while Caylen Rearick checks in at 8.7 ppg.

The winner will face the No. 5 team from the WPIAL in the first round of the PIAA playoffs on Tuesday (March 8).


(1) Elk County Catholic vs. (3) Otto-Eldred, Clarion University, 2:30 p.m.

Otto-Eldred is seeking its first D9 title in program history when the battle the Lady Crusaders. O-E has been in this position recently, having lost the title game to North Clarion in 2017 and Coudersport a year ago.

Elk County Catholic, meanwhile, is seeking its first title since 2010 (their second of back-to-back crowns) when they beat West Forest, 38-34. The Lady Crusaders lost in the title game in 2016. Going back to the 1980s won titles in 1989, 1987, and 1980. They also lost in the 1982 title game, a team that was coached by longtime boys coach Aaron Straub.

In Otto-Eldred’s 60-53 win over North Clarion in the semifinals, Katie Sheeler scored 27 points, going over 1,000 for her career in the process, while Anna Merry had 18 and Bri Heller six.

ECC (23-3), meanwhile, got defensive in a 37-16 semifinal win over Ridgway. Lucy Klawuhn scored 14 points in the game, while Sami Straub and Syd Alexander added eight each and Tori Newton five points and 11 rebounds.

The winner will face the No. 6 seed from the WPIAL on Wednesday (March 9), while the loser will face off with the No. 3 seed from District 6.


(5) Ridgway at (2) North Clarion, 4 p.m.

Two teams that are playing for PIAA seeding as North Clarion (20-4) hosts Ridgway (15-8) in the third-place game.

Lauren Lutz had 14 points for the She-Wolves in their semifinal loss to Otto-Eldred, while Gwen Siegel had 12 and Emma McFarland 10.

Carli Thomas had five points for the Lady Elkers, who were playing without injured second-leading scorer Julie Peterson due to injury in the loss. Jenna Kasmierski checks in at just over 10 points a game for the Lady Elkers, while Payton Delhunty averages seven per game.

The winner will face the District 10 champion, while the loser will face the runner-up from District 6.


(6) Union at (4) DuBois Central Catholic, 12 p.m.

The final PIAA playoff spot is up for grabs for the winner between the Damsels and the Lady Cardinals.

DCC (15-9) built an early 12-point lead in rolling to a 62-35 win in the consolation semifinals over Northern Potter. In that game, Lexi Berta had 15 points, Faith Jacob had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Kayley Risser 10 points.

Union, meanwhile, rallied for a 37-34 win over Clarion after trailing by one going into the fourth quarter.

Kennedy Vogle had 13 points in the win, while Dominika Logue added nine and Hailey Theuret seven.


(10-1) Villa Maria at (9-1) St. Marys, 6 p.m.

St. Marys (18-5) got a career-high 29 points from Jayssa Snelcik to beat Clearfield 68-48 D9 title game win to get to this point, while Villa Maria (20-2), got 19 points from Jayden McBride and 12 from Daniela Shaughnessy in a 56-23 D10 title game win over Fort LeBoeuf.

Carissa Dunham leads Villa at 15.0 ppg., while McBride averages 13.9 and Shaughnessy 9.0. The Victors advanced to the PIAA title game last season before falling to Archbishop Wood.

Izzy Catlone averages 8.5 ppg. and Maura Caskey 8.3 for the Lady Dutch.

The winner will meet the No. 5 team from the WPIAL in the first round of the PIAA playoffs on Wednesday (March 9).

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