Fast or slow, either gear works for the New Castle
New Castle (68) Vs. Montour (58)
BEAVER FALLS — Fast or slow, either gear works for the New Castle High boys basketball team. 

The Red Hurricane leads the WPIAL in scoring at 78.3 points per game — thanks to its fast break and intense style. It worked well in the team’s first 13 games.

Saturday night at Geneva College’s Metheny Field House, New Castle showed it can take its foot off the gas and still come out victorious with a 68-58 triumph over Montour in the Coaches vs. Cancer Clash of the Titans.

“We learned we can play at a different tempo and be effective when we have to. That’s what the night brought,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “We learned that, if we get punched, we’ll punch back. It’s been a while since we’ve been in a close game. It’s important for us to be in a game against a well-coached team that knows how to dictate tempo. That was very important. 

“We really haven’t been in a game in quite some time. We really, really needed to be challenged and we were more than challenged. That’s a good basketball team. One of our coaches said we didn’t play particularly well, but I said that’s because Montour is really good.”

The showdown featured the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s top-ranked WPIAL Class AAA teams. The ’Canes (14-0) are ranked first, while the Spartans (8-1) are second. New Castle is ranked No. 2 in the state by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg and Montour is No. 4.

“I don’t know who all the best teams are in triple-A, but I just know that Montour is definitely one of them,” Blundo said. “So, to come on a neutral floor, play relatively well and beat them was important. We managed the game pretty well. It turned into their tempo and it’s really hard to dictate tempo with Devin Wilson.”

The triumph gave New Castle some redemption for a 55-50 loss to Montour in last year’s PIAA playoffs.

“They beat us last year and there’s kind of a sick feeling in your stomach when you lose a game like that,” said New Castle’s Shawn Anderson, who scored a team-high 18 points. “So, it’s good to come out and play against very good competition and get the win.”

That defeat taught the ’Canes to be adaptable when the tempo is slowed.

“That’s one thing we couldn’t do last year; that’s what I feel hurt us,” Anderson said. “This year, we’re able to stop and slow down and play the half-court set. I credit that to our point guard Brandon (Domenick) and Corey (Eggleston). They run the offense when we get stopped like that.”

New Castle posted a 17-15 lead at the end of the first. The Spartans grabbed a 26-21 advantage with 3:22 remaining in the half, but the ’Canes closed the frame with a 12-2 spree capped by Jermaine Cuffie’s putback to post a 33-28 halftime edge.

“Jermaine Cuffie had that tip-in to cap that run and that gave us a boost. That’s what you want to do — go into the locker room with momentum because it carries over to the second half,” Anderson said.

New Castle pushed its lead to 10 points, 40-30, early in the third, but Montour fought back to trim the deficit to 46-41 at the buzzer. The Spartans sliced it to 46-43 26 seconds into the final stanza. However, the ’Canes broke loose on a 9-0 run for a 55-43 lead.

Montour was not able to recover from that final burst as New Castle posted the 10-point win.

Wilson paced the Spartans with 14 points, while Tyler Haas had 12.

Eggleston finished with 17 points and Anthony Richards posted 14. On the defensive side, Richards limited Wilson to just one field goal in the second half.

The ’Canes believe they’ll see Montour again this year.

“We understand that we played well and there were mistakes we made as well as mistakes they made. When we see them again, we know it’ll be a different game and we’ll be ready,” Anderson said. “They are a very talented team. Devin Wilson is an amazing point guard. They have some big guys, too. We’ll be ready.”
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 17 16 13 22 0 68
Montour 15 13 13 17 0 58
Box Scores
Kevin Sciulli 2 0-0 6
Devin Wilson 4 6-9 14
Ryan Lewis 5 0-3 10
Tyler Haas 5 0-0 12
Aaron Reed 3 1-2 7
Rob Julian 3 0-0 7
Justin Hill 1 0-0 2.
Totals: 23 7-14 58.

Brandon Domenick 2 1-2 7
Corey Eggleston 6 4-6 17
Shawn Anderson 6 5-7 18
Anthony Richards 4 2-4 14
Malik Hooker 1 4-4 6
Antonio Rudolph 1 2-2 4
Jermaine Cuffie 1 0-0 2
Drew Allen 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 21 18-25 68.

MONTOUR 15 13 13 17 — 58
NEW CASTLE 17 16 13 22 — 68

3-point goals — Montour 5 (Sciulli 2, Haas 2, Julian 1), New Castle 7 (Richards 4, Domenick 1, Anderson 1, Eggleston 1).

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