New Castle boys fall to Altoona
Altoona (48) Vs. New Castle (45)

For 30 minutes and 53 seconds Saturday night, the New Castle High boys basketball team played outstanding.

It turned the ball over a mere seven times, ran a crisp offense that saw three players score in double figures and handled a much bigger Altoona team on the inside with excellent team defense.

There was no need to even think about a loss, because, really, nothing jumped out and said that the Mountain Lions had anything in them that said they could win.

With 1:07 left in the championship game of the New Castle Tipoff Tournament, the Red Hurricane led 43-35.

They lost 48-45 in one of the most improbable endings the Ne-Ca-High Field House has seen in a long time.

Altoona did its share to win, but the Canes did much more to lose.
Down by eight, Mountain Lions point guard Alex Raymond hit a long 3-pointer to make it 43-38. New Castle’s Chris Richards was fouled but missed the front-end of a one-and-one, but Nick Colella got the rebound. Richards was fouled again, and missed another front-end.
This was the beginning of the end.

“Free-throws, free-throws...We can’t let these games get away,” Red Hurricane coach Mark Stanley said.

On the next possession, Raymond drove for a wide-open layup on the baseline, made the hoop and was fouled. He made the free-throw, 43-41.
This is where panic set in.

With the Mountain Lions pressing, trying at least to foul as soon as possible with 30 seconds left, Alphonso Lewis stole the inbound pass and scored. The game is tied and the sparse, quiet crowd got even quieter.

Tonio Fulena was fouled on the next inbound play and calmly knocked down two foul shots to make it 45-43 with 24 seconds left and all looked back to normal.

After trying to get the ball to 6-foot-7 Matt Gehret on a quick post-up, Altoona coach Larry Betar called a timeout and subbed in Caleb Angle, who didn’t get off the bench all tournament until there was 17 seconds left in the championship game.

He drilled a 3-pointer over Colella for the Mountain Lions’ first lead at 46-45.

“He’s a shooter and we know he makes them in practice, but this is the first time he actually did it in a game,” Betar said.
In reality the game was over there, as the ’Canes looked absolutely stunned coming back to the bench.

Fulena was stripped driving to the hoop and Raymond knocked down two foul shots.

Colella made a desperation attempt at the buzzer but didn’t come close and somehow New Castle fell to 1-1.

It is so stunning because the ’Canes actually played well. Colella scored 13 points, including seven in a row in the first quarter as the ’Canes raced to an early 15-5 lead. Richards and Fulena did a good job in the backcourt and Mike Andrews scored 13 points, all coming from running the floor and getting position down low. Steals had only two points, but made the offense much more diverse with some excellent looks to Andrews.

They also led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter and held Altoona to only three points in the third quarter.

“We played well but free throws wins and loses games,” Stanley said of his team, only 5 of 11 from the line.

“I told them if this is the worst thing that ever happened to them, then they’re having a pretty good life,” Stanley continued. “We just have to concentrate on those foul shots.”
Game Scoreboard
Altoona 13 13 3 19 0 48
New Castle 15 16 8 6 0 45
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
Alex Raymond5333160
Alphonso Lewis242060
Jarryd Burkett000000
Matt Gehret322190
Anthony Lytle6420140
Luke Colledge000000
Caleb Angle100130
Corey Diehl000000
New Castle
#10 Nick Colella5212130
#11 Tyrone Steals100020
#4 Tonio Fulena153050
#34 Mike Andrews6001130
#5 Chris Richards4202110
#31 Rodney Parchman000000
#21 Jordan Gentsy000000
#22 Nick Klein021010
#33 Stephen Richardson000000
#42 Mike Fish000000
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