Brockway, Brookville, Punxsy, DCC, C-L Boys Set for District Bball Postseason

PIAA

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (D9Sports) – Five local teams will compete in the District 9 basketball playoffs starting this week with Brookville and Brockway competing in Class AA, Punxsutawney in Class AAA and Clarion-Limestone and DuBois Central Catholic in Class A.

(See brackets on D9sports.com)

Here is a quick breakdown on each of the teams. To see the full District 9 boys’ playoff breakdown, head over to D9Sports.com.

BROCKWAY (10-12)

Seed: 5th (Class AA)

First Opponent: vs. Karns City in quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Clarion High School

Notable – For the second straight year, the Rovers started slowly but came on with a bang. After starting the season 4-11, Brockway closed with six wins in its last seven games with the only loss coming at Ridgway. The Rovers have won the title twice in the past seven years taking home championships in 2009 and 2013.

Top players – Jake Wineberg (10.4 ppg), Corey Carr (8.8 ppg), Carter Adams (8.7 ppg).

What it will take for the Rovers to win it all – Just keep playing the way they have been over the last month. If they do that, they are good enough to win the title in an unremarkable Class AA field that is lacking true star power outside of Bucheit.  

BROOKVILLE (8-14)

Seed: 6th (Class AA)

First Opponent: vs. Keystone in quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Clarion High School

Notable – Is it an omen for Brookville, the 8-14 record? That is the exact record the Raiders finished the regular season with two years ago before winning the title, their third since 2010. Like Brockway, the Raiders have been at their best late in the season entering the postseason having won three straight and four of five with the lone loss coming to unbeaten ECC. They are also just one of two teams in the field – top-seeded Cranberry is the other – to have a pair of players averaging in double digits. But defense has been an issue, and the Raiders rank 25th in D9 in points allowed giving up 56.5 ppg.

Top players – Kurt Schindler (14.0 ppg), Jimmy Moore (12.5 ppg).

What it will take for the Raiders to win it all – Moore is a bit of a wild card in the Raiders chances for a title. He has had some unbelievable games this year topping 20 points five times while scoring at least 25 four times. If he does that and Schindler continues his steady play, Brookville could repeat its run of two years ago.  

PUNXSUTAWNEY (14-8)

Seed: 3rd (Class AAA)

First Opponent: at St. Marys in semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16

Notable – The Chucks looked like the top AAA team for the better part of the first half of the season and were 8-1 on New Year’s Day including a win over Clearfield. But 2016 hasn’t been kind to Punxsy, as it’s gone 6-7 including a pair of losses to St. Marys that has forced them on the road in the semifinals. The Chucks do posses a lethal offense averaging 59.3 ppg, but they have only reached that part six times since Jan. 1.  And the defense isn’t there. Since Jan. 1, at least 60 points has been scored on the Chucks seven times. In addition, the loss of a couple of key players who are no longer on the team hasn’t helped the depth.

Top players – Dylan Huey (13.7 ppg), Brandon Matthews (10.6 ppg), Devin Kelly (8.9 ppg), Ethan Riley (8.8 ppg)

What it will take for the Chucks to win the title – Rediscovering the early-season magic would help. Bute more importantly, just staying within the game plan and executing could go a long way. That’s what the Chucks did in a 63-51 win at Bradford Friday night to close out the regular season. If they can build off that game, it’s not out of the realm of possibility they could take home the title.

CLARION-LIMESTONE (21-2)

Seed: 4th (Class A)

First Opponent: Union (TBA)

Notable – The Lions have won three straight KSAC titles and they are the defending champions having won their first title since 1961 last year over Cameron County. They are looking to become the first repeat champion in Class A since ECC won four in a row 2004 to 2007. Despite the loss of a two prominent seniors from last year – R.J. Laugand and Kolton Stiglitz – C-L has been able to reload thanks in part to the transfer of Taylor and Christian Smith from Clarion and the emergence of freshmen Ian Callen and Julian Laugan, R.J.’s younger brother. 

Top players – Dan Callen (19.4 ppg), Noah Rankin (14.7 ppg), Taylor Smith (13.6 ppg), Ian Callen (11.8 ppg).

What it would take for the Lions to win it all – They are experienced in big games with Callen and Rankin both playing key roles in the run to the PIAA Quarterfinals last year. They also are the only team in D9 to have four players average in double digits, one of the big reasons why C-L leads the district in scoring at 76.1 ppg. At the same time their eliance on a pair of freshmen in key spots could catch up to them in the playoffs when the stakes are ramped up another notch. They also don’t play very good defense and rank 18th in D9 allowing 49.4 ppg. In addition, their pertinence, at times, to rely on the outside shot instead of attacking the rim could hurt them in a close game.

 DUBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC (15-8)

Seed: 8th (Class A)

First Opponent: hosts Otto-Eldred at 7 p.m. Feb. 17

Notable – The Cardinals haven’t been to the PIAA playoffs since taking third in 2010, and when they fell to the eighth seed thanks to Clarion’s win over C-L last week the chances of that streak ending got slimmer with Elk County Catholic looming in the quarterfinals if DCC can get past Otto-Eldred. DCC has faced Elk twice this year, and both games have been forgettable with the Crusaders winning 63-21 in the regular season and 61-27 Friday night in the AML semifinals. That could be too bad, because there are a couple of great storylines with this team including the emergence of freshman Justin Miknis and the dual-sport playing of Joey Varischetti, who is also wrestling at Brockway this winter.

Top players – Christian LaParne (19.1 ppg), Justin Miknis (10.8 ppg), Joey Varischetti (8.8 ppg).

What it would take for the Cardinals to win it all – ECC getting the flu? No, seriously, DCC’s best hope is that it can put aside what happened in the first two games against the Crusaders while the Crusaders would come in taking the Cardinals lightly. But for that to happen, DCC can’t have a let down against Otto-Eldred in the first round.


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