District 6 Class AA girls championship
Teams: Bellwood-Antis Lady Blue Devils (24-1); Blairsville Lady Bobcats (23-1)
Site, time: DeGol Arena, St. Francis University, Loretto, 5:30 p.m., today
The coaches: Bellwood-Antis - Jim Swaney (61-11 in three years at Bellwood-Antis, 339-205 in 21 years overall). Blairsville - Ralph McGinnis (104-43 in six years at Blairsville, 166-102 in 11 years overall).
Path to the finals: Bellwood-Antis - defeated Central Cambria, 55-28, in the quarterfinals; defeated Westmont Hilltop, 56-53, in the semifinals. Blairsville - defeated Juniata, 49-25, in the quarterfinals; defeated Bald Eagle Area, 53-33, in the semifinals.
Starting lineups: Bellwood-Antis - G Ana Hollen (5-6 so., 13.7), G Bailey Swogger (5-6 jr., 12.7), G Kelly Leamer (4-4 so., 6.1), F Katy Leamer (5-9 sr., 19.2), F Selena Damiano (5-10 so., 5.1). Blairsville - G Laurel O'Barto (20, 5-7 so., 10.5), G Mackenzie Livingston (2, 5-7 sr., 20.4), G-F Nicole Boyer (4, 5-5 so., 4.5), F Courtney Kanyan (12, 5-9 sr., 6.3), F Chelsey Koren (33, 5-11 so., 17.8).
Key reserves: Bellwood-Antis - F Lindsey Mercer (5-8 sr., 3.9), G Jacqueline Finn (5-6 so., 1.6). Blairsville - F Lindsay Sharp (34, 5-5 sr., 3.9).
Who they get: The winner plays the sixth-seeded team from District 7 (Mohawk or Greensburg Central Catholic) on March 8 at a District 6 site. The loser plays the third-seeded team from District 7 (Jeannette or Burrell) at a District 7 site.
Notable: Bellwood is the second seed. Blairsville is fourth. ... Leamer is a returning Mirror first-team all-star who has received recruiting attention from some top Division III colleges. ... Bellwood has been without G Ellen Crook (10, 5-4 jr., 3.6) for the last seven games because of an injury. Her status for tonight is doubtful. ... Bellwood is going for its third District 6 championship. The Lady Devils last appeared in the finals in 1999, when they won Class AA. ... Swaney coached Tyrone to a District 6 Class AAA championship in 1994. ... Blairsville has never reached the district finals before. ... McGinnis is Blairsville's fourth coach in as many years; he also coached there five years in the 1990s. He was coach at Richland last year when the Lady Rams beat the Lady Bobcats in the district semifinals. Blairsville came back to qualify for states by winning the 6-AA consolation game. Finn was the starting catcher on Bellwood's 2012 District 6 Class A softball championship team. Bellwood's only loss is to Bishop Guilfoyle, while Blairsville has won 23 straight since falling against Pikeville, Kent. in its opener. ... The teams' only common opponent is Tyrone, which Blairsville beat by two and Bellwood defeated by 26 and 16.
District 5 Class AA boys championship
Teams: Northern Bedford Black Panthers (19-5); Conemaugh Township Indians (21-3)
Site, time: University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown Sports Center, 6 p.m., tonight.
The coaches: Northern Bedford - Barry Crawford (201-174 in 15 years). Conemaugh Township - Chuck Lesko (87-34 in five years).
Path to the finals: Northern Bedford - defeated Chestnut Ridge, 58-51, in the semifinals. Conemaugh Township - defeated Tussey Mountain, 68-55, in the semifinals.
Starting lineups: Northern Bedford - G Zane Snyder (23, 6-2 jr., 11.2), G Blake Over (35, 6-4 jr., 11.1), F Zach Pressel (20, 6-3 sr., 8.2), F Kyler Diehl (25, 6-4 jr., 11.4), F Tayler Pressel (32, 6-3 sr., 13.7). Conemaugh Township - G Austin Speigle (12, 6-1 jr., 3.3), G Josh Burns (44, 5-9 sr., 10.9), G Dillon Boyer (30, 6-0 sr., 14.5), G-F Jeremy Sotosky (40, 6-3 sr., 10.9), F Jeff Fisher (32, 6-1 sr., 13.2),.
Key reserves: Northern Bedford - G Garret England (11, 5-11 sr., 3.1), G Brandon Litzenberger (10, 6-0 sr., 2.5), G Trenton Barnes (15, 6-0 sr., 3.0). Conemaugh Township - F Jeff Callihan (14, 6-1 jr., 5.6), G Jake Formica (24, 6-1 jr., 1.8), F Luke Maurer (10, 6-1 so., 3.3), G Evan Steeves (20, 6-1 so., 1.8).
Who they get: The winner plays District 8 champion Westinghouse on Tuesday at a District 5 site.
Notable: Northern Bedford is the second seed. Township is seeded first. ... Conemaugh Township beat Chestnut Ridge in last year's final. That was the Indians' first district title win in 10 years. ... Northern Bedford is looking for its first boys district basketball championship since winning three District 5 Class A tournaments from 1996-98. ... The Black Panthers are making their first appearance in a District 5 final since 2003, when they were runner-up to Southern Fulton in Class A. The teams met earlier this season. Northern Bedford won, 61-53, in the first round of the Mountain Cat Tipoff Tournament behind 17 points from Zach Pressel and 14 apiece from Zane Snyder and Kyler Diehl. Northern is averaging 13.9 offensive rebounds per game. Township has assisted on more than half of its field goals this season.
District 6 Class AA boys championship
Teams: Penn Cambria Panthers (19-4); Northern Cambria Colts (21-4)
Site, time: DeGol Arena, St. Francis University, Loretto, 7 p.m., tonight.
The coaches: Penn Cambria - Jim Ronan (65-55 in five years). Northern Cambria - Dan Weber (153-122 in 10 years).
Path to the finals: Penn Cambria - defeated Ligonier Valley, 64-54, in the quarterfinals; defeated Bishop McCort, 44-40, in the semifinals. Northern Cambria - defeated Richland, 71-66, in the first round; defeated Tyrone, 64-54, in the quarterfinals; defeated Bald Eagle Area, 59-54, in the semifinals.
Starting lineups: Penn Cambria - G James Mardula (14, 6-0 sr., 2.4), G Mack Behe (4, 6-2 sr., 8.2), F A.J. Leahey (21, 6-7 sr., 20.7), F Nathan Keagy (34, 6-5 sr., 8.1), F Devin Lawhead (41, 6-2 sr., 9.3). Northern Cambria - G Derek Bearer (10, 5-8 sr., 4.6), G Adam Polites (23, 6-2 sr., 20.6), G Josh Bonatesta (33, 5-10 sr., 12.4), F Nick Lee (22, 5-11 sr., 7.5), F Jeff Hogan (35, 6-3 sr., 14.9).
Key reserves: Penn Cambria - G-F Chad Tsikalas (31, 6-2 jr., 3.0), G Jake Schwaderer (23, 5-10 sr., 2.7), G Mike Mardula (35, 5-11 so., 2.1). Northern Cambria - F Alex Atkins (30, 6-3 sr., 0.9).
Who they get: The winner plays the sixth-place team from District 7 (Greensburg Central Catholic or Brentwood) on March 9 at a District 6 site. The loser plays the third-place team from District 7 (Apollo-Ridge or Quaker Valley) on March 9 at a District 6 site.
Notable: Penn Cambria is the No. 2 seed. Northern Cambria is the No. 5 seed. ... The Colts are in the district finals for the third year in a row. They were in Class A the last two years, where they defeated Bishop Carroll for the 2012 championship after finishing runner-up to the Huskies the year before. Northern Cambria reached interdistricts in 2010, as well. ... Penn Cambria last made the district finals in 2003, when the Panthers won District 6 Class AAA. That was the program's fifth district title in 15 years. Leahey has signed with Pitt-Johnstown and has connected on 74 3-pointers this season. ... Polites also has 1,000 career points. ... Northern Cambria is 2-1 this year against Laurel Highlands Conference teams, beating Richland and Westmont but losing in overtime to Cambria Heights. NC used to be a member of the LHAC in the 1990s but hasn't played the Panthers in more than seven years. Penn Cambria's losses have come against Bishop Carroll (twice), Bellwood-Antis and Bishop Guilfoyle. The Panthers average 34.4 rebounds per game. ... Behe and Atkins both were all-state linebackers in football.
- Philip Cmor