Hampton rolls over New Castle
Hampton (60) Vs. New Castle (43)
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
Slow starts are becoming the norm for the New Castle High boys basketball team.
Last night, it caught up to the Red Hurricane still again.
Hampton outscored New Castle 23-2 in the first half en route to a 60-43 nonsection victory at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.
The ’Canes (1-2) were outscored 13-4 to start the season opener Friday in a 64-53 loss to Perry Traditional Academy.
“We’re so young and we’re trying to learn but we’re starting slow all the time,” ’Canes coach Mark Stanley said. “Our thing (last night) was to come out fast and get after them and we didn’t do that.
“We take things for granted and that’s youth. They haven’t been in the fire yet; they’re going to have to learn that or else they’ll be in a hole every game.”
The Talbots, the defending WPIAL Class AAAA champs, opened a 29-7 second-quarter lead courtesy of the 23-2 outburst.
“Those kind of runs are very important, they can make or break a game,” said Hampton coach and former Westminster College standout Joe Lafko.
New Castle trailed 36-12 at the break but started the second half strong. The ’Canes used a quick 7-0 run to rattle the Talbots and force a timeout less than 90 seconds into the half.
“I told the guys at halftime you can go out and play to the scoreboard and quit or you can go out and battle,” Stanley said. “I told them let’s try and go out and cut it to 15 by the end of the third, that would make it a game.”
The ’Canes cut the deficit to 45-30 at the end of the third stanza and they continued to chip away. New Castle got as close as 47-35 on a 3-pointer by Marquale May with 6:30 to play when mistakes took over.
“I totally expected New Castle to come out strong,” Lafko said. “We told our guys they weren’t going to lay down and they didn’t.”
Hampton raced to a quick 8-0 spurt to grab a 55-35 advantage and put the game away. Three straight Talbots steals led to layups during the run.
“When you’re trying to come back like that, every mistake you make is magnified a thousand fold,” Stanley said.
Hampton’s size overwhelmed New Castle. The Talbots’ starters included Todd Brown (6-foot-8), Bill Luther (6-7) and Tim Donegan (6-5). The trio made it hard for the ’Canes to work the ball inside. In fact, New Castle settled for 27 3-pointers, sinking five.
“The zone hurt us; they slowed us down and then we were settling for 3s,” Stanley said. “We weren’t moving the basketball.
“That’s a big team. We’re not going to see anyone quite that big, but it’s a good test for us. We play a strong nonsection schedule, there’s no patsies on our schedule.”
May led the ’Canes with 10 points and three steals. Marcus Carter pulled down a team-best six rebounds.
Luther paced all scorers with 16 markers and Donegan was next with 13.
New Castle opens WPIAL Section 2-AAA action at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow when it travels to Hopewell. The game was moved from Friday because of a school function at Hopewell.
“With this young of a team, I sort of like starting section play on the road,” Stanley said. “You’re away from home and away from distractions, sometimes you’re more focused.
“Hopewell is very good; they might be the best team in the section.”