Punxsutawney/St. Marys Girls; Clearfield/Bradford Boys Rematch in 2020 D9 Class 4A Title Games Thursday


CLARION, Pa. (D9Sports) – A pair of District 9 titles will be decided Thursday night at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.

(Photo of Punxsutawney’s Sarah Weaver. Photo by Jared Bakaysa of JB Graphics. See more of Bakaysa’s work here)

In Class 4A girls’ action, Punxsutawney will go for an unprecedented sixth consecutive championship when it takes on St. Marys, while in Class 4A boys’ play Clearfield is seeking a fifth straight title when it battles Bradford.

The girls’ game is at 6 p.m. followed by the boys’ contest.

GIRLS’ CLASS 4A TITLE GAME

(2) St. Marys vs. (1) Punxsutawney

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27
Where: Clarion University’s Tippin Gym
Records: St. Marys 18-5, Punxsutawney 18-4
How They Got Here: St. Marys beat Bradford, 55-36, in the semifinals Friday; Punxsutawney had a bye into the championship game
Leading Scorers: St. Marys: Kaylee Muccio (9.2 ppg), Megan Quesenberry (7.4 ppg), Allison Schlimm (6.7 ppg), Kyla Johnson (6.4 ppg). Punxsutawney: Sarah Weaver (15.0 ppg), Riley Presloid (13.1 ppg), Chloe Presloid (8.1 ppg), Ryley Cassaday (6.6 ppg)
About St. Marys: The Lady Dutch are on a bit of a roll having won four in a row all over playoff teams heading into the title game … St. Marys is looking for its first championship since winning the fourth of four in a row in 2011 in Class 3A. The Lady Dutch made five straight title games between 2008 and 2012 in the old Class 3A under the four-class system … The Lady Dutch rank fourth in D9 in points allowed per game at 31.5 ppg and fourth in margin of victory at plus 16.5 … St. Marys spreads its scoring out so much that eight different players have led the Lady Dutch in scoring in a game this season.
About Punxsutawney: The Lady Chucks are in uncharted waters. No District 9 girls’ team has won six straight titles since Bradford accomplished the feat seven times in a row in the first seven years of the D9 girls’ tournament from 1973-79. The first three of those were in a one-class system with the last four coming in Class 3A in a three-class system for the Lady Owls … Punxsutawney’s current streak of five in a row have come in two different classes with the Lady Chucks winning the first two (2015 and 2016) in Class 3A in the old four-class system and the last three (2017-19) in Class 4A under the current six-class system … The only other D9 teams to even win five in a row on the girls’ side are DuBois in Class 4A from 1986 to 1990 and Coudersport in Class 1A from 1993 to 1997 … Punxsutawney enters play Thursday having won 11 of 12 with the only loss coming to Homer-Center, 43-40, Feb. 11 … Punxsy hasn’t played a game in nearly two weeks with its last contest being a 44-37 win over Bradford Feb. 14 … Weaver, a junior, is the seventh-leading scorer in District 9 and currently has 757 career points.
Game Tidbits: This is the third meeting of the season between these teams with Punxsutawney having taken the first two. The Lady Chucks won, 50-31, Jan. 15 in Punxsutawney and 43-37 Feb. 4 in St. Marys. Riley Presloid had 17 points, Casaday had 12 and Chloe Presloid 10 in the game in Punxsy, as Weaver was held to a season-low four points, one of only three times this year she hasn’t reached double digits. In the win in St. Marys, Weaver had 15 points and Casaday 10. For St. Marys in those games, Quesenberry led the way with 10 points on the road, while Johnson had 13 in the home loss … This is the third straight year these teams have met in the D9 4A title game. Punxsutawney won 44-23 last year and 47-24 in 2018 … Only the winner advances to the PIAA playoffs where it will play the fourth-place team out of the WPIAL, either Central Valley or Blackhawk.

BOYS’ CLASS 4A TITLE GAME

(2) Bradford vs. (1) Clearfield

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27
Where: Clarion University’s Tippin Gym
Records: Bradford 12-10, Clearfield 14-8
How They Got Here: Both teams had byes into the title game
Leading Scorers: Bradford: Tyler Gigliotti (20.7 ppg), Cam Austin (8.9 ppg), Steven Knowlton (8.2 ppg), Evan Schmidt (7.2 ppg); Clearfield: Cade Walker (17.0 ppg), Karson Rumsky (12.7 ppg), Cole Miller (6.8 ppg), Matt Pallo (6.4 ppg)
About Bradford: The Owls haven’t played since Feb. 15, but considering they had lost 8 of 14 including 3 of 4 to close out the year that might not be a bad thing. The lone win was a triple-overtime thriller over Punxsutawney, 67-60, on Valentine’s Day … Bradford hasn’t won a D9 title since taking home the 3A crown in the old four-class system in 2013. That title ended a streak that saw the Owls win 10 titles in a span of 13 years between 2001 and 2013 … Gigliotti is one of the top players in District 9 and ranks fourth in D9 in scoring. Gigliotti is the all-time leading scorer in Bradford boys’ basketball history with 1,438 career points. He has scored at least 20 points 12 times this season while going over 30 with a career-high 41 points in a win over Olean (N.Y.) … Eight of Bradford’s 10 losses have come to teams that made it at least to the semifinals in their respective classifications and districts.
About Clearfield: The Bison are gunning for a fifth straight D9 title with the first two coming in Class 3A in the old four-class system and the last three in Class 4A under the six-class system … The number of teams that have won at least five in a row in D9 boys’ history is small … Elk County Catholic did it from 1991-95 in Class 1A under the four-class system and Bradford did it from 1941-45 in Class A, which at the time was the biggest classification. Bradford also was declared the D9 champion six years in a row from 1969-74 in Class A, but it is unknown if the Owls actually had to play for a title in all six of those years or if in some they were the automatic entrant into the PIAA playoffs … Clearfield is streaking into the playoffs having won five straight. The win streak came on the heels of a 6-7 stretch in the very tough Mountain League … Walker is over 1,000 career points at 1,028, while Rumsky, a junior, could join him the 1,000-point club next year. Rumsky is currently at 672 career points … Miller is only a freshman, and he has come on strong in the second half of the year averaging 8.5 since Dec. 28.
Game Tidbits: This is the third straight years these teams have met in the title game. Clearfield escaped last year’s championship game with a 63-61 win that wasn’t quite as close as the final score indicates considering Bradford hit a 3-pointer as time expired. In 2018, Clearfield beat the Owls in another close one, 42-36 … Only the winner advances and the victory has the tall order of playing the WPIAL runner-up (the WPIAL was only in the semifinal round as of Wednesday).


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