New Castle routs Farrell — again
New Castle (79) Vs. Farrell (54)
By JOE SAGER
FARRELL — Like many sequels, this one didn’t live up to its hype.
New Castle opened its season on Dec. 10 with a 63-44 win over Farrell. That lopsided score was surprising, but the Steelers were without three starters who were still playing football.
So, with its roster intact heading into its own Dresch-McCluskey Classic last night, Farrell looked for some revenge.
The Red Hurricane crushed those hopes with a 79-54 triumph at historic E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium.
“We have so much respect for Farrell and their program up here and what they’ve been able to accomplish,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “I am sure they wanted to play us because they had their players back and we wanted to play them with their full complement of players as well. I am just really pleased with the effort from my guys.”
New Castle (5-2) gained extra motivation when it saw the Steelers scheduled this matchup to start the tournament, instead of picking Sharon or West Middlesex.
“We were kind of pumped up because, when we saw Farrell wanted to play us first, we just knew we had to come in and win,” New Castle’s Brandon Domenick said. “We had to get back at them because they were talking that they needed their football players to come back to beat us. We just came out and played hard.
“We worked hard all week in practice to get ready. The two days off for Christmas weren’t good, but we came back and worked hard. This is what we wanted. We want the next game, too. We’re coming to win it also.”
The ’Canes face Sharon (4-0), a 62-42 winner over West Middlesex, at 7:30 p.m. in today’s championship battle.
“They are undefeated and fantastic. They beat Beaver Falls earlier in the year,” Blundo said. “They are a veteran team, a very strong team, an active team and a very well-coached team. It’ll be quite a task for us. We’ll prepare and, hopefully, come out and play well.”
New Castle played well against Farrell (2-5). The ’Canes opened a 7-1 lead, but the hosts marched back to tie it with 4:19 left in the opening stanza. New Castle responded with a 14-1 run to close the frame to post a 21-8 advantage.
“That’s not easy to do on their home floor,” Blundo said. “We’re one of those teams that, when we play with great energy, I think we’re a good basketball team. When we don’t — and, for the most part, we do — the dropoff is significant and the guys know that. Hopefully, we continue to play at the same pace.”
The ’Canes kept it up in the second quarter. They saw their lead grow as high as 29 points, 45-16, before settling on a 45-18 halftime lead.
“We just zone it out,” Domenick said. “We just play hard the whole time and keep moving.”
New Castle didn’t relax in the third as it used a balanced attack to post a 31-point, 68-37, cushion at the buzzer.
“I think they are so young they don’t acknowledge those things, they just play,” Blundo said of the lopsided score. “I am proud of them for that. It really is a selfless group of players. We preach to them to make the right play, whatever it is — if it’s a shot or a pass. There’s no one out there trying to do anything except win the basketball game and that’s why we’ve been successful so far.”
Corey Eggleston tallied a team-high 19 points as five ’Canes reached double figures in scoring. He added six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Shawn Anderson had 16 points, nine rebounds, three steals and three assists, while Malik Hooker tallied 14 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block. Anthony Richards had 11 points, three steals and three assists, while Domenick had 10 points, 10 assists and three steals.
Farrell’s Patrick Horton led all players with 24 points.