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2021 Basketball Playoffs

District 9 Girls’ Basketball Playoff Preview

Coudersport's Sarah Chambers. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick's work here

The 2020-21 District 9 girls’ basketball season has been a wild ride, but we’ve finally arrived in the postseason. 

Teams will be vying for that lone spot in each classification into the PIAA playoffs, and there are sure to be some surprises along the way. 

Here’s how each classification stacks up, and remember, check out our playoff hub here, your one-stop shop for all things D9 and D10 playoffs. 

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CLASS 1A

The Seeds: No. 1 Coudersport, No. 2 Otto-Eldred, No. 3 Elk County Catholic, No. 4 Port Allegany, No. 5 Clarion, No. 6 Cameron County, No. 7 Union, No. 8 North Clarion, No. 9 A-C Valley, No. 10 DuBois Central Catholic

The top six seeds all get a bye into the quarterfinals, with Union hosting DCC and North Clarion at home against A-C Valley in the first round. 

Coudersport enters as the top seed with a record of 17-1, with their lone blemish coming in the second game of the season against Otto-Eldred. They are an excellent defensive team, having allowed fewer than 40 points in every game this season. Offensively, 1,000-point scorer Sarah Chambers leads the way at 17.7 ppg, followed by Ros Page and Liz Frame, who check in at 9.6 ppg. apiece. 

No. 2 seed Otto-Eldred (14-4) has the aforementioned win against Coudy on its resume, as well as wins over St. Marys and Elk County Catholic, among others. They come into the playoffs 3-3 in their last six games. Offensively, they are led by the sharp-shooting Katie Sheeler, who checks in at 16.3 ppg, followed by Kayley Heller (6.7 ppg.), Bri Heller (6.2 ppg.), and Reilly Raught (6.0 ppg.). 

Elk County Catholic enters with a record of 16-6 and winners of four-straight. Sydney Alexander leads the way at 10.6 ppg., including double figures in seven-straight contests. Tor Newton checks in at 8.0 ppg and Julia Aikens 6.1 ppg. Aikens is a senior and Newton and Alexander are both freshmen. 

Fourth-seeded Port Allegany (12-5) features the dynamic Bree Garzel. A gifted scorer, Garzel averages 23.1 ppg, including eclipsing 40 points in a game twice. She also surpassed the 1,000-point milestone this season. The Lady Gators come in hot, winners of 10 of 11. Jade Evans (7.5 ppg.) and Evin Stauffer (6.2 ppg.) are also leaders for Port. 

No. 5 Clarion enters as a dark horse contender. Of the Lady Cats’ (11-9) nine losses, they are Karns City, Redbank Valley, and unbeaten Punxsutawney twice, as well as D10 5A top seed Warren. They’ve done very well against Class 1A competition and are led by Erica Selfridge (12.0 ppg.), Jordan Best (8.5 ppg.), and Payton Simko (5.8 ppg.). 

No. 6 Cameron County lost its last three after winning its previous four, but those losses were all close, twice to Port Allegany and the other to a talented St. Marys squad. The duo of Hailey Hilfiger (14.0 ppg.) and Kaelee Breslin (12.4 ppg.) lead the Red Raiders. 

No. 7 Union (11-10): Dominika Logue (16.2 ppg.), Keira Croyle (8.1 ppg.), Hailey Kriebel (6.1 ppg.)

No. 8 North Clarion (7-6): Gwen Siegel (11.2 ppg.), Trinity Thompson (5.0 ppg.), Claire Kriebel (4.1 ppg.)

No. 9 A-C Valley (8-10): Rachel Cullen (8.4 ppg), Andrea Meals (7.7 ppg.), Mia Sherman (6.2 ppg.)

No. 10 DuBois Central Catholic (8-13): Kayley Risser (12.1 ppg.), Faith Jacob (9.5 ppg.), Jessy Frank (7.0 ppg.)

CLASS 2A

The Seeds: No. 1 Keystone, No. 2 Brockway, No. 3 Clarion-Limestone, No. 4 Kane

Keystone enters as the top-seed in the 4-team field after putting together an impressive 17-2 regular season. The Panthers’ only two losses came at the hands of Redbank Valley and Punxsutawney. Sixteen of their wins came by double digits. Emily Lauer is one of the top scorers in D9, checking in at 20.1 ppg., while Jozee Weaver aveages 9.1 and Natalie Bowser 7.7. 

Keystone’s Emily Lauer. Photo by Diane McMunn.

The Panthers will face No. 4 seed Kane, which enters with a record of 5-9. Sarri Swanson (8.7 ppg.), as well as Rainee Wright (7.2 ppg.) and Audri Marconi (7.2 ppg.) pace the Lady Wolves. 

The 2-3 matchup is an intriguing one between 10-6 Brockway and 11-11 Clarion-Limestone. 

The Rovers come in winners of four of their last five games. They feature the excellent inside-out combination of Selena Buttery (14.6 ppg.) and Danielle Wood (13.8 ppg.), as well as Ciara Morelli (5.5 ppg.). 

C-L, meanwhile, comes in 4-4 in its last eight games. Frances Milliron checks in at 13.1 ppg. for the Lady Lions and Kendall Dunn 8.1 ppg.

CLASS 3A

The Seeds: No. 1 Punxsutawney, No. 2 Redbank Valley, No. 3 Moniteau, No. 4 Karns City

Quite simply, the Lady Chucks have been the best team in D9 this season, going unbeaten at 16-0 and winning all but two of those games by double digits. Punxsy has a great 1-2 punch of Sarah Weaver (14.6 ppg.) and Riley Presloid (13.4 ppg). They are so much more than that, however, averaging more than 60 ppg. as a team. That also includes Chloe Presloid (9.6 ppg.), Katelyn Griebel (7.8 ppg.), and Danielle Griebel (6.9 ppg.). 

Punxsutawney’s Sarah Weaver (left) with head coach Mike Carlson. Photo by Al Modrzejewski

They will face No. 4 seed Karns City (13-8) in the semifinals. The Gremlins come in 3-3 in their last six games. Emma Johns leads the way at 11.7 ppg., followed by Rossi McMillen (6.8 ppg.) and Brooke Manuel (5.1 ppg.). 

The 2-3 semifinal matchup pits Redbank Valley (15-5) against Moniteau (13-9). The two teams met twice during the regular season, wins of three and five points by Redbank. The Bulldogs come in seven of their last eight games. They feature a trio of double-digit per game scorers in Caylen Rearick (13.2 ppg.), Madison Foringer (11.6 ppg.) and Alyvia Huffman (11.4 ppg.). 

Moniteau, meanwhile, comes into the playoffs after finishing 4-2 in its final six games, including wins over Karns City and C-L to. Aslyn Pry, the KSAC MVP, averages 19.6 ppg. and has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including 31 in the regular-season finale. Catherine Kelly checks in at 11.6 ppg. and Kendall Sankey 5.5 ppg. 

CLASS 4A

No. 2 Clearfield (10-11) at No. 1 St. Marys (14-4)

St. Marys enters the 4A title game winners of 9 of 11, with those losses coming to Coudersport and Cameron County. The Dutch have got it done with a stifling defense and balanced offense. Kyla Johnson leads the way at 11.4 ppg., followed by Samantha Hayes (9.2 ppg.) and Isabelle Caskey (6.2 ppg.). 

They will be facing a Clearfield team that comes in with a record of 4-3 in its final seven regular-season games, including a pair of wins over DuBois Central Catholic. Emma Hipps checks in at 11.9 ppg., with Riley Ryan at 6.7 and Cayleigh Walker 6.1. 

CLASS 5A

DuBois will play in the District 6-9 bracket, squaring off with Hollidaysburg in the semifinals as the No. 3 seed (Hollidaysburg is the 2). The other matchup pits No. 1 Central Mountain against No. 4 Bellefonte. 

DuBois enters with a record of 13-7, which includes a current 8-game winning streak.  Six of those eight wins have come by double digits. Abby Guiher and Saige Weible both average 10.1 ppg. for the Beavers, while Oliva Johnson averages 8.5 per game.

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