Lady ’Canes lose Talbert in win
New Castle (57) Vs. Butler (45)
By JOE SIMON
The beginning and end of the regular season has not been kind to the New Castle High girls basketball team.
The returning WPIAL Class AAA champions lost leading scorer Kaylynn Waters in the fourth game of the season with a tear to her anterior cruciate ligament. And last night, junior Christina Talbert, who leads the team with a 17.9 points-per-game average, suffered a knee injury during the Lady ’Canes’ season finale, a 57-45 victory over Butler.
New Castle coach Jason Rankin, who was at the hospital with Talbert, said the extent of the injury is not yet known.
“They think it’s a sprain,” he said. “They’re just hoping. We won’t know for a few days.”
Rankin said Talbert was driving in the lane during the first minute of the game when she stopped to hit a pull-up jumper.
“We looked at it on tape and were trying to see if she hit someone’s leg when she pulled up,” Rankin said. “It was hard to see. It looked like she just came down on it a little funny. There wasn’t much of an impact.”
The Lady ’Canes did regroup against Butler. The nonsection matchup was tight at first, with New Castle leading, 30-27, at the half. But the Lady ’Canes started to pull away in the third, outscoring the Lady Tornado, 14-10.
“We were a little rattled early,” Rankin said. “She got hurt 57 seconds into the game. When we got out of the haze, we broke it open a little bit in the third.”
LaShauna Brothers scored a team-high 20 points, and Ja’Nia McPhatter added 18 for the Lady ’Canes (19-3). Mackenzie O’Donnell posted a game-high 21 points for Butler (4-17).
The challenge now is how New Castle copes with the possibility of losing yet another key player. Its mental and physical capabilities are going to be tested, Rankin said.
“Certainly, with the injuries we’ve had this year, seeing someone else go off the floor like that was concerning,” he said. “If (the injury is) long term, we’re going to have to make some adjustments. It’s hard to lose two players of that caliber in the same season and not have it impact your program.”