Balanced ’Canes bounce Beaver
New Castle (81) Vs. Beaver (48)
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News

There has been no shortage of offense this season for the New Castle High boys basketball team.

Last night certainly was no exception.

Four Red Hurricane players reached double figures in scoring in an 81-48 WPIAL Section 2-AAA victory over Beaver at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.

New Castle (2-0 section, 9-0 overall) is second in the WPIAL in scoring average per game at 77.9 markers a contest. Only Montour, which is 3-0, averages more (80 a game). The ’Canes have scored under 70 points a game just once this year, in a 69-58 decision over Seneca Valley.

But it was a slow start last night that New Castle coach Ralph Blundo was trying to avoid against the Bobcats (1-2, 6-3). The ’Canes were locked in a 2-2 battle until Shawn Anderson’s basket with 3:56 left in the opening quarter put them ahead for good.

New Castle, ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was struggling with each possession before Anderson’s basket — one shot, no good looks, and the hosts weren’t hitting the boards.

“In a home section game against a good basketball team, I thought we would come out with a little more focus and a little more energy. But that wasn’t the case,” Blundo said.

Senior Corey Eggleston, who netted a game-high 18 points, said Blundo would be able to tell how his team was going to look even before the game started.

“We got after it in practice a couple of days over the break and we had a good holiday tournament,” Eggleston said. “It was probably the way we came out in warm-ups.

“Coach told us he’ll know if we’re ready to play or not by how we come out in warm-ups. We didn’t come out prepared.”

New Castle started to put it together before the end of the quarter, building a 15-10 lead. Beaver remained competitive and closed to 24-20 with 3:25 to go in the half on a 3-pointer by Austin Logan.

However, the ’Canes capped the half on a 12-0 run, culminated by a 3-pointer by Anthony Richards at the buzzer for a 36-20 advantage. Antonio Rudolph grabbed a long rebound off an errant 3-pointer and found an open Richards who drained the backbreaking trifecta.

“That was big,” Blundo said of the run. “Beaver was feeling pretty good; they were in it.

“That was a big 3 by Anthony Richards at the end of the half; that sent us in with some great momentum.”

The ’Canes found their stroke in the third period, outscoring Beaver 30-16 for a commanding 66-36 lead going to the final quarter.

Eggleston tossed in 10 of his markers in the third quarter. He finished the game with seven rebounds, five steals and three assists as well.

“We were just rushing things a lot in the first half,” Eggleston said. “We just knew getting steals and getting up a lot of shots would keep our intensity up. When our intensity is up, that’s when we’re at our best.”

Said Blundo, “I think halftime woke them up. We needed to refocus some guys and get them to understand that their energy wasn’t acceptable. When we play with an edge and we play with great energy, we’re a good basketball team.

“It had nothing to do with Xs and Os and everything to do with effort. There’s another gear we can get to and in the third quarter, we got there.”

Anderson and Richards followed Eggleston’s effort with 14 points apiece, while Brandon Domenick contributed 11. Malik Hooker recorded eight markers and Rudolph was next with seven. Anderson contributed a team-high nine boards and Domenick handed out a team-best six assists.

New Castle, which is off to its best start since the 2001-02 season, travels to Center High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a section matchup against Central Valley (3-0, 7-3).
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 15 21 30 15 0 81
Beaver 10 10 16 12 0 48
Box Scores
Nick Conjeski 2 2-2 8
Darian Bradley 1 0-1 2
Curt Lanctot 2 1-2 5
Christian Herstine 2 0-1 4
Cory Nesmith 2 0-0 4
Austin Logan 3 0-0 7
Nick Sweed 2 0-1 4
Aaron Barlow 2 1-2 5
Nick Tepsic 2 0-0 6
Colin Reese 0 0-0 0
Javon Alexander 0 0-0 0
Anthony DiNuzzo 1 0-0 3.
Totals: 19 4-9 48.

Brandon Domenick 3 2-2 11
Corey Eggleston 8 2-2 18
Shawn Anderson 5 4-5 14
Anthony Richards 5 1-1 14
Malik Hooker 4 0-0 8
Antonio Rudolph 2 2-2 7
Jermaine Cuffie 2 0-0 4
Stew Allen 0 0-0 0
Jesse Salzano 1 0-0 3
Drew Allen 0 0-1 0
Levar Ware 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 31 11-13 81.

BEAVER 10 10 16 12 — 48
NEW CASTLE 15 21 30 15 — 81

3-point goals — Beaver 6 (Conjeski 2, Logan 1, Tepsic 2, DiNuzzo 1), New Castle 8 (Domenick 3, Richards 3, Rudolph 1, Salzano 1).
JV score: New Castle 38, Beaver 36. High scorer: NC — Stew Allen 16.

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