ST. MARYS — Two Punxsutawney Area High School girls will compete in the 12th-annual Alice R. Kozel Foundation District IX Basketball All-Star games, which are set to tip-off Saturday, April 2, at Elk County Catholic High School.
The girls' game starts at 4 p.m., followed by the boys game at 6 p.m. At halftime of each game will be a three-point shooting contest with the boys competing during the girls’ halftime and girls shooting during the boys’ halftime.
Punxsy forward Shawnna Crago and guard Jenna Reitz will oppose each other in the game. Crago will compete for the White Squad, and Reitz will play for the Blue Squad.
No Punxsy boy will play in the All-Star games.
It's the first time that the event will be held in Elk County. The games were played in DuBois until last year, when Punxsutawney hosted the event. It's another opportunity to expose a school to the annual event featuring the top seniors in the district.
"Being involved with District IX basketball for years, ever since 1976 as a player in District IX, the ECCHS gymnasium has been a basketball landmark for District 9 programs,” Kozel Games founder and co-chairman Larry Salone, a St. Marys Area High School graduate, said. “The program at Elk County has always been a model for high school basketball, so it’s a real pleasure to have coach Aaron Straub offer us the ability to play in this gymnasium that holds so much tradition and lore."
This year, 40 of the top senior players in District IX, along with 12 coaches, represented 24 of the district’s 35 schools.
Among this year’s group of Kozel seniors are 10 1,000-point scorers. Coudersport’s Jenna Matzinger and DuBois Central Catholic’s Miller Hopkins went over 1,000 career points. Matzinger’s Blue Squad teammate Kayla Hoohuli of St. Marys finished with over 2,000 points. Her recent injury in St. Marys’ state playoff game loss to New Castle puts her in questionable status for the game.
For the boys, DuBois Central Catholic’s Chris Marshall, Brockway’s Nick Anderson, Clarion-Limestone’s Brandon Bell and Moniteau’s Zach Sloan all finished with over 1,000 career points while hitting the mark this year. Three other seniors, Venango Catholic’s Maxx Rynd, North Clarion's Jeremy Schmader and A-C Valley's Allan Eaton, were over 1,000 points going into the season.
The following are the other Blue Squad girls who will play along Reitz's side: Justis Myers (Johnsonburg), Jade Walker (Clarion-Limestone), Andrea Saquin (Kane), Karly Carnovale (Elk County Catholic), Jalina Sabatose (Brockway), Lindsey Neiswonger (Redbank Valley) and Lindsay Obremski (DuBois).
Coaching the Blue Squad will be Elk County Catholic's Ken Pistner, St. Marys' Bob Swanson and Coudersport's Brian Green.
Also on the White Squad are Mariah Winchester (Union), Kaitlyn Hill (Brookville), Hannah Fink (Coudersport), Jillian Love (Keystone), Tori Brown (Coudersport), Ashley Wilson (Kane), Sarah Lutz (Cranberry) and Kyley Mickle (Port Allegany).
The White Squad's coaches are Cranberry's Chrissy Shumaker, Union's Josh Meeker and Bradford's Ann Nuzzo.
In addition to those mentioned, the boys' Blue Squad includes Eric Hesdon (Clarion-Limestone), Tyler Herzing (Elk County Catholic), Camden Nolan (Oswayo Valley), Dylan Reigel (St. Marys), Louis Imbrogno (Johnsonburg), Darren Simons (Elk County Catholic) and Dan Fitzpatrick (DuBois Central Catholic).
Coaching the Blue Squad are St. Marys' Mark Guido, DuBois Central Catholic's Mike Nesbit and Oswayo Valley's Clark Cummings.
Also on the boys' White Squad are Ricky Pearsall (Elk County Catholic), Brandon Bain (Redbank Valley), Trent Corle (Union), Ryan Grimm (Cameron County), Logan Depto (Kane), Kyle Baughman and (Brookville).
The boys' Blue Squad coaches are North Clarion's Ed Baumcratz Brookville's Bud Baughman and Union's Karen Davis.