Lady Wolves defeat AC Valley to win their first ever District 9 Championship

Photo by Larry Smith — The Kane Lady Wolves basketball team pictured above won their first ever District 9 Championship on Friday night with a 61-52 overtime win over the AC Valley Lady Falcons.
Larry Smith
Staff Writer

KNOX –– After two consecutive D9 Championship losses, the Kane Lady Wolves basketball team had one goal in mind at the beginning of the season… to bring home Kane's first ever girls basketball District Crown. Mission accomplished.
The Kane Lady Wolves overcame an emotional week and left it all on the floor, winning an overtime thriller over the AC Valley Lady Falcons 61-52 at Keystone High School on Friday night. At Tuesday night's semifinal, Kane head coach Dave Kiehl suffered a heart attack and was taken to a local hospital. Kiehl was unable to coach of Friday night. 
The Keystone gym was filled with Kane fans dressed in red in support of Kiehl and heart disease awareness. The Lady Wolves showed their support on the floor, playing the way Kiehl would want them to. 
"That was for Dave," said Kane coach Kerry Wolbert after taking over the head coaching duties on Friday night. "We were playing for Dave tonight. It was for the girls and the school, but it's for Dave tonight."
Kiehl's daughter, Stacy Hastings, was also on the bench with the Lady Wolves. Hastings coached the Lady Wolves from 2005-2008.
"It does mean a lot to Dad because it's for the girls," said Hastings after the emotional week. "He wanted it for the girls. For them to pull it out despite all the circumstances they are going through, it means even more to him. God has different plans than we do sometimes. You couldn't have asked for a better game. They maintained their composure. They stayed in control. When it went into overtime I thought the girls have it. I knew they could do it."
Big players step up in big moments and on Friday night, Hannah Buhl made the most of the biggest moment in her basketball career. Buhl led all scorers with 23 points. She hit five three-pointers, breaking Jessica McDivitt's record of 133 to become Kane's all-time three point leader. Buhl had 132 going in and ended the game with 137. She also finished a perfect 8-8 from the foul line. 
"Hannah was big," said Wolbert. "In my opinion she is the best point guard in District 9."
Ella Marconi dominated the lane again scoring 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds for a double-double. She also registered six blocked shots. Buhl and Marconi were a combined 9-10 from the foul line in overtime to seal the win. 
"We have the best point guard and the best big girl in the district," said Wolbert.
Sophomore Sarri Swanson played a key role in the win, scoring 11 points off the bench and hitting two crucial freethrows in the fourth quarter. 
The AC Valley Lady Falcons didn't go down without a fight, tying the game late in the fourth and taking the last shot in regulation. Olivia Boocks led the Falcons with 20 points. Her last second shot hit the rim, sending the game to overtime. Cami Mcnany added 11 points for AC Valley. 
Ella Marconi hit the first basket of the game at the 6:20 mark of the first quarter. Boocks answered with three-pointer and Andrea Meals put AC Valley ahead 6-2 with a jump shot and a foul shot on the following possession. Marconi tied the game at six with a layup and two freethrows. Emily Bucheit hit a three to give Kane a 9-6 lead. Boocks hit a three to tie the game and Buhl hit an NBA three to end the first 12-9 in favor of the Lady Wolves. 
Kane's defense played well in the first half with strong play from Bucheit, Sierra Hillman, Ainsley Saf and Swanson. Kane's defense held Mcnany and Kylee Eaton, two of AC Valley's top scorers, without a point in the half. Swanson hit a shot early increasing Kane's lead to 14-9 and Madi Koza followed with a score. Buhl hit a three breaking the record with 4:19 remaining in the second quarter capping a 7-0 run by Kane. Boocks stopped the run with a three and Buhl answered with another three for a 22-12 lead. Saf hit a shot late and the Lady Wolves took a 24-16 lead into the break. 
Kane outscored AC Valley 15-13 in the third quarter. Marconi hit two freethrows and a layup early in the third to give Kane a 28-18 lead. Kylee Eaton scored her first basket of the game and Mcnany got hot for the Lady Falcons, scoring seven in the third for her first points. Buhl hit another three and Bucheit hit a three with under a minute left in the third. Swanson added four points and the Lady Wolves had a 39-19 lead with eight minutes to play. 
AC Valley came storming back in the fourth, outscoring Kane 19-9 to send the game to overtime. Swanson hit a shot to open the fourth to give Kane a 41-29 lead. After Marconi and Eaton exchanged scores, the Lady Falcons went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 43-37. Boocks had four of the six points during the run and had 9 total in the fourth. 
Bucheit hit a freethrow to settle things down for Kane. Mcnany followed with a layup. Buhl hit two freethrows to give Kane a 46-39 lead. Boocks scored again and Mcnany added a score, making it a one possession game 46-43 with 1:07 left in regulation. The Lady Falcons were fouling with Kane shooting in the bonus. After the Lady Wolves missed two foul shots, Boocks hit a three to tie the game at 46. 
With 35 seconds to play, Swanson came up big hitting  two freethrows for a 48-46 lead for the Lady Wolves. That lead was short lived. Eaton hit a shot with 16 seconds left and the game was tied at 48. Marconi took a shot that bounced off the rim and Boocks threw up a last second shot that hit the rim, sending the game to overtime. 
"They came back," said Wolbert. "I was never comfortable. They kept coming at us. We took a couple of shots we shouldn't have taken late."
The Lady Wolves controlled the four-minute overtime to get the win. Marconi was fouled and hit two freethrows for a 50-48 lead. Eaton answered with a score to tie the game at 50. Marconi added another foul shot and Buhl followed with her fifth three of the night. Kane led 54-50. Forced to foul, AC Valley watched the game slip away. Buhl went to the line sic more times and hit all six shots, scoring nine in the overtime period. AC Valley added two freethrows. Swanson added a foul shot and the student section cheered "We Love Coach Kiehl".
The clock ticked down with the Lady Wolves winning their first ever D9 Championship 61-52. 
"They were focused tonight," said Wolbert after taking over for Coach Kiehl. "They knew what to do for the most part. I was nervous yesterday, but today I really wasn't. I have been here before. I knew what we had to do."
The Lady Wolves will face the loser of Saegertown and Cambridge Springs next Friday in the opening round of the PIAA state playoffs at a site and time to be determined.