‘Canes fall to Central Valley
New Castle (51) Vs. Central Valley (72)
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
One bad stretch spelled doom last night for the New Castle High boys basketball team.
The Red Hurricane went cold for nearly four minutes and Central Valley took advantage.
The Warriors used a 16-0 run in the late stages of the second quarter and early third quarter, cruising to a 72-51 WPIAL Section 2-AAA victory at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.
It was the first meeting between the schools. Central Valley was formed after Center and Monaca consolidated following the 2009-2010 academic year.
New Castle (2-1 section, 6-4 overall) missed out on a chance to share the section lead with Blackhawk (3-0, 7-3).
The Warriors (3-1, 5-3) broke a 28-all deadlock, forging a 34-28 halftime buffer and continuing the spree for a 44-28 advantage.
“The last minute-and-a-half of the second quarter and the first three or four minutes of the third quarter was the difference in the game,” first-year ’Canes coach Ralph Blundo said. “You have to give a lot of credit to Central Valley, they played sensational tonight.
“I don’t think they did anything different in the second half. Obviously we didn’t come out the way we should have to start the second half and it showed.”
Central Valley grabbed a 24-14 lead in the second quarter, but New Castle rallied to knot the count with 2:03 to go.
Daniel Steffine, who registered a game-best 21 points, hit a layup and a 3-pointer to get the Warriors rolling early in the second half.
“We wanted to stay true to what we do,” Central Valley coach Brandon Ambrose said. “We thought with our defense we were in good position and the kids were playing it well.
“We got a couple of backdoor layups at the end of the first half and we thought our offense was coming along. That gave us a lot of confidence. To beat a team up here in New Castle like we did, you have to play well.”
Central Valley built the lead to 58-38 after three periods and it coasted the rest of the way. The closest the ’Canes would come was 60-43 with 5:32 remaining.
New Castle committed 22 turnovers, eight of which came in the first quarter.
“We were so panicked because we haven’t faced a team that strong on defense,” ’Canes junior Corey Eggleston said. “It was harder for us to get things done.”
Eggleston notched a team-high 16 points, 11 coming in the first half.
“They helped out more on me,” Eggleston said of how Central Valley contained him in the second half. “When I drove, they collapsed more and made things harder for me.”
The Warriors sizzled from the floor, draining 29 of their 44 attempts.
“That’s tremendous shooting,” Blundo said. “They made contested shots, wide-open shots. You name it. They played sensational.”
Nick Delisio followed Steffine’s effort with 20 points for the Warriors.
“Nick is the straw that stirs the drink for us,” Ambrose said. “He’s our guy and he makes everything happen. Dan has been a pleasant surprise, too.”
Shawn Anderson contributed 12 points for the ’Canes, while Brandon Domenick chipped in with 10.
New Castle returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when it travels to Hopewell (1-2, 3-5) for a section matchup.
“We need to go down there and get a win,” Blundo said. “We’ll prepare hard for them and it will be my job to get these guys to bounce back and be ready for Hopewell.”