Finally the Bride: A-C Valley Girls’ Win First KSAC Basketball Championship

| February 16, 2019

KNOX, Pa. (D9Sports) – Finally the bride.

That was A-C Valley senior Olivia Boocks’ reaction to her Lady Falcons winning their first-ever KSAC girls’ basketball title with a 38-35 win over two-time defending champion North Clarion in the KSAC Title Game Friday night at Keystone High School. The win avenged losses in both the KSAC and District 9 Class 1A title games to North Clarion last year for A-C Valley and a loss to the She-Wolves in the 2017 District 9 Class 1A semifinals.

“It does feel good to finally be the bride instead of the bridesmaid,” Boocks, who was named the game’s MVP and the Hager Paving Player of the Game after scoring a game-high 18 points, grabbing four rebounds and stealing four balls, said. “This is probably the best memory of high school I will ever have.”

Rewatch the game

Boocks hit five 3-pointers, including four in the first half, as A-C Valley took advantage of a North Clarion team that challenged the Lady Falcons to shoot from the outside in order to protect the paint.

“We just got hot,” Boocks said. “Honestly, that was a blessing.”

Watch Boocks postgame interview.

A-C Valley (19-3) hit six of its seven 3-pointers in the opening 16 minutes to build a 27-20 halftime lead.

“They shot lights out,” North Clarion head coach Terry Dreihaup said. “They just knocked them down. Good for them. They shot really well tonight.”

Olivia Boocks is presented her KSAC Title Game MVP  award by Media Sports Editor Chris Rossetti. Boocks scored a game-high 18 points.

Olivia Boocks is presented her KSAC Title Game MVP award by Media Sports Editor Chris Rossetti. Boocks scored a game-high 18 points.

North Clarion (16-6) stayed in the game with a 3-point barrage of its own in the opening half with the She-Wolves hitting six of their 10 3-pointers before halftime, including four from Gabby Carll and three from Abby Gatesman.

“They shot well too,” A-C Valley head coach Dave Sherman said.

A-C Valley celebrates after the game.

A-C Valley celebrates after the game.

After trailing by the seven at halftime, North Clarion was able to cut the lead to five, 30-25, after a third quarter that saw both teams struggle mightily offensively. Then, when Gabby Schmader hit a 3-pointers 53 seconds into the fourth quarter, the She-Wolves were only down two, 30-28.

But that was as close as North Clarion got, as the She-Wolves went cold from the field missing their next nine shots while committing three turnovers and going 1-for-3 from the free-throw line.

“I think the girls were pushing a little bit,” Dreihaup said. “They were trying to put up some shots that maybe they shouldn’t have. But they never gave up at all and fought hard. Hats off to A-C Valley. They played a great game.”

Despite North Clarion going cold form the field, A-C Valley struggled to extend its lead.

That was mainly due to a cold spell of its own. The Lady Falcons went from the 5:17 mark of the third quarter when Boocks hit a 3-pointer to put them up 10, 30-20, until the 2:24 mark of the fourth quarter when an Andrea Meals jumper from the elbow made the lead 33-28, without a field goal. That was a span of 10:53.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Sherman said. “We got real cold there. I have to give (North Clarion) credit. They played a great defensive game. We got out of sorts. They switched out of the zone. I figured they he would and he did. We just didn’t have a lot of continuity when they jumped into that man (defense). But we were hot enough early that we were able to hold them off.”

The Meals jumpers was part of a 7-1 spurt by A-C Valley in the fourth quarter that pushed its lead to 37-29 following a free throw by Cami McNany with 21.3 seconds left.

North Clarion got late 3-pointers from Mackenzie Bauer and Carll, who finished with a team-high 15 points on five triples, to make the final score close.

“Finally,” Sherman said of his team beating North Clarion in a postseason game. “I showed (the girls) my (second-place KSAC) medal from last year and said I don’t like this one. It is the wrong color. I don’t want another one of these. Make sure I don’t get one, and make sure you don’t get one, those of you that got one last year. They took care of that. These girls have been in the system for four years. They have put their time in. They play a lot of ball besides this. They put the time in and worked at it. It is just a testament to the work they have put in and the skill they have. They are talented athletes. I have three athletes who are going to be playing sports next year (in college). I have some really talented girls and it shows.”

Kylee Eaton and Cami McNany each added nine points for A-C Valley with Eaton grabbing nine rebounds and McNany hauling in six boards and coming away with two steals. Rachel Cullen also had three steals for the Lady Falcons.

Abby Gatesman had a double-double for North Clarion with 11 points and 10 rebounds while adding two steals.

NOTES: North Clarion was trying to become the third school to win three consecutive KSAC Titles since the KSAC went to a title game in 2007. Cranberry won three straight from 2010 to 2012 while Karns City won three in a row from 2014-16 … The 73 combined points were the second-fewest in a KSAC girls’ championship game behind the 74 in 2014 when Karns City beat Clarion, 36-28. A-C Valley’s 38 points were also the second-fewest for a winning team behind that 2014 Karns City squad … Both teams advance to the District 9 playoffs. North Clarion is the third seed in Class 1A and will take on sixth-seeded Elk County Catholic at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 19, at Brookville High School. A-C Valley is the second seed in the Class 2A playoffs and has a bye into the semifinals where it will take on the winner of Tuesday’s game between Keystone and Port Allegany being played at 6:00 p.m. in Kane. The date, time and location of that semifinal game has yet to be determined.


Score by Quarters

North Clarion 11 9 5 10 – 35
A-C Valley 12 15 3 8 – 38


Mackenzie Bauer 1 0-0 3, Cierah Manross 0 0-0 0, Gabby Schmader 2 0-0 5, Gabby Carll 5 0-1 15, Abby Gatesman 4 0-0 11, Haley Sherman 0 1-2 1. Totals 12 1-3 35 .


Cami McNany 2 3-4 9, Rachel Cullen 0 0-0 0, Emily Wetzel 0 0-0 0, Andrea Meals 1 0-0 2, Olivia Boocks 5 3-6 18, Kylee Eaton 4 1-2 9. Totals 12 7-12 38.

Three-pointers: North Clarion 10 (Carll 5, Gatesman 3, Schmader, Bauer). A-C Valley 7 (Boocks 5, McNany 2).

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