Home » Uncategorized » Repeat for Lady Cats: Clarion tops Keystone for Class A title

Repeat for Lady Cats: Clarion tops Keystone for Class A title

Photo by Eric Elliott

Photo by Eric Elliott

By Rich Rhoades

CLARION — It’s repeat time for the Clarion Lady Cats.

Sparked by a powerful double-double performance by senior forward Kyla Miles, Clarion won back-to-back District 9 Class A titles for the first time by avenging a regular-season loss to Keystone in a 63-52 win at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium Saturday.

Clarion (20-6) will open the state playoffs next Saturday against WPIAL fifth seed Frazier, most likely at Clarion University at a time to be announced. Keystone (18-8) will play District 6 third-place finisher Claysburg-Kimmel also at a likely D9 site and time to be announced.

“We said let’s go deeper than we did last year,” Clarion head coach Roger Walter said. “That’s a heckuva goal and I know we gave ourselves a good path to try. Looking deeper into the future, I hope the girls who got on the floor and played more minutes than I thought they would, I hope they expect to be back here next year.”

Last year, Clarion reached the quarterfinals before losing to Bishop Guilfoyle after beating Winchester-Thurston and Conemaugh Township.

“Getting back to the Elite 8 like last year, that’s our goal or even go beyond that,” Miles said.

Miles finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds while junior guard Maci Thornton scored 18 points to lead the Lady Cats. Keystone’s Madison Johnson turned in a strong performance with 27 points, including five 3-pointers, and 14 rebounds.

“Losing the seniors last year definitely put a hole in our starting five and rebuilding to win districts was a goal of ours,” Miles said. “As the games went on, we got progressively got better and we really stepped up tonight as a team.”

Back on Dec. 11 in Knox in their only meeting of the year, the Lady Cats let a 10-point halftime lead slip away in a 55-50 loss.

“I think the key was to play consistently better defense,” Thornton said of the difference from the first meeting. “The last time we played we had a 10-point lead and let them back in it because we stepped back on defense. This time, we stepped up on defense and kept the lead that way.”

This time around, Clarion jumped out to a 20-6 lead by the 2:27 mark of the second quarter thanks to a pressuring defense that helped Keystone start with an awful shooting performance. The Lady Panthers missed their first 11 shots from the floor.

“Defensively, I loved the way we played in the first quarter, As we got tired, we lightened up a little bit, but I loved our defense early,” Walter said.

Keystone was 4-for-21 from the field in the first half and warmed up a little in the second, but couldn’t overcome the early deficit. The Lady Panthers got as close as seven points at 27-20 at the 5:47 mark of the third quarter, but Clarion swelled its lead back as many as 20 by the end of the third and Keystone didn’t get it back to single digits until the game was decided in the final 26 seconds.

NOTES: After Johnson, the next highest scorer for Keystone was McKenna Schick with eight points. Also for the Lady Panthers, Mallory Reed and Amber Hess each grabbed seven rebounds. … For Clarion, Anna Reed also reached double-figure scoring with a season-high 10 points. Thornton had four steals and five rebounds while Kroh reached double figures in rebounding with 11 to go along with four steals. … Along with their repeat, the Lady Cats won Class A titles in 1980 and 1992. …. Keystone beat Clarion in the 2012 finals, 39-25. … Clarion is the first repeater since Elk County Catholic won back-to-back crowns in 2009 and 2010. Winning back-to-backs and beyond are pretty common in Class A girls: Johnsonburg (1978-79), Ridgway (1983-84), Union (1985-86), Coudersport (1990-91), Coudersport (1993-1997), DuBois Central Catholic (1998-99) and Coudersport (2001-2004), Union (2005-07).

CLARION 63, KEYSTONE 52

Score By Quarters

Keystone            4            11            12            25            –            52

Clarion            12            14            17            20            –            63

Keystone – 52

McKenna Schick 4-10 0-4 8, Kennedy McClendon 0-3 0-0 0, Mallory Reed 2-5 0-1 4, Shayla Chapman 2-7 0-0 5, Madison Johnson 8-19 6-7 27, Amber Hess 1-9 4-5 6, Emily Baughman 0-0 0-0 0, Alyssa Beichner 0-0 0-0 0, Kaci Weaver 1-7 0-1 2, Lexis Twentier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-60 10-18 52.

Clarion – 63

Laken Ganoe 1-3 0-0 2, Kyla Miles 9-16 3-8 21, Nicki Glenn 1-5 0-0 3, Maci Thornton 6-13 6-11 18, Grace Kroh 1-7 2-4 4, Sophie Wolfe 0-0 0-0 0, Katelyn Beichner 0-1 2-2 2, Maddy Weaver 0-0 0-0 0, Kelly Beveridge 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Reed 3-6 4-4 10, Lauren Wiser 1-3 0-0 2, Paige Weaver 0-0 1-2 1, Olivia Bartley 0-0 0-0 0, Julie Kenneson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-55 18-31 63.

3-pointers: Keystone 6-26 (Schick 0-2, Reed 0-1, Chapman 1-4, Johnson 5-12, Hess 0-4, Weaver 0-3), Clarion 1-6 (Glenn 1-5, Ganoe 0-1). Rebounds: Keystone 46 (Johnson 14), Clarion 44 (Miles 15, Kroh 11). Turnovers: Keystone 22, Clarion 21.

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