’Canes keep hope alive with overtime win
Butler (53) Vs. New Castle (62)

The WPIAL playoffs don’t begin for another four weeks.

But for the New Castle High boys basketball team, they started last night.

The Red Hurricane faced a must-win situation and came through with a 62-54 overtime decision against Butler in a Section 3-AAAA matchup at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House. It marked the second consecutive overtime game for New Castle.

“It’s playoffs for us and we want in,” ’Canes coach Mark Stanley said. “People are writing us off, but we still believe; the coaches believe and the players believe.

“I told the guys if we don’t get this one, we’re sinking fast. This was a playoff atmosphere and we had to have this one.”

Mike Andrews and Nick Colella scored five points each in the extra session as New Castle outscored the visitors, 13-5.

Andrews hit a bucket with 2:46 left in the extra period to give the ’Canes the lead for good at 54-52. The Golden Tornado committed a turnover on the next possession and Andrews buried a turnaround jumper with 2:11 left for a 56-52 advantage.

“Andrews played really well,” Butler coach Joe Lewandowski said. “He made a tough turnaround shot in the overtime and they fed off his play.”

New Castle made 6 of 8 foul shots in the final 93 seconds to close out the win.

Andrews led all scorers with a career-best 20 points to go along with eight rebounds. Colella followed with 12 markers and Tyrone Steals chipped in with 10.

“Mike played great; he was getting the looks inside and knocking them down,” Stanley said. “Defensively he was doing his job; he wasn’t just doing the job on offense, he did it at both ends.”

The ’Canes led 41-35 after three quarters and the teams traded 3-pointers to open the final stanza. Jeff Slater’s 3-pointer gave the Golden Tornado a 45-44 advantage with 4:55 remaining.

“Slater is a good player,” Stanley said. “He knocked down some big shots.”

Cody Fleeger sank a pair of foul shots to put Butler up 49-48 with 52.5 seconds left. Andrews was fouled in the paint with 10.1 seconds remaining on the ’Canes’ next possession.

Andrews, the county’s leading free-throw shooter coming in at 83.3 percent, buried the first shot, but was off on the second one. The teams battled for the rebound and Butler won the struggle with six seconds on a running clock. The Golden tornado raced to the other end and put up a shot in the lane rolled off the rim as time expired.

“He made the tough one,” Stanley said of Andrews’ foul shooting. “He’s the guy I would want there at the line.

“When the rebound came off, we jumped the ball which we weren’t supposed to do. They got out of our trap and then the break was on. We were fortunate, the ball came off the rim. Sometimes you need a break and that gave us another opportunity and we were able to take advantage of it.”

Lewandowski was fine with the teams battling for the rebound and the clock ticking down, limiting the time for his team to get a shot.

“I thought in transition we got a decent attempt,” he said. “I don’t know if extra seconds gets you a better shot attempt or not.

“I think it would have helped them to set their defense if they had more time to do so.”

New Castle, which has a tendency to start slow, opened the game on fire. The ’Canes built an 18-14 lead after one quarter and were up 28-24 at the break.

“We came out with intensity,” Stanley said. “We’re a wounded animal and a lot of people are writing us off.

“We had to come out strong and give our best effort and that’s what we did.”

Slater led Butler with 19 points.

New Castle is back in action at 7:30 p.m. today against Hampton in a nonsection encounter. The Talbots are coached by former Westminster College standout Joe Lafko.
Game Scoreboard
Butler 14 10 11 14 4 53
New Castle 18 10 13 8 13 62
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
New Castle
#10 Nick Colella3860120
#11 Tyrone Steals3631100
#4 Tonio Fulena300170
#34 Mike Andrews9420200
#5 Chris Richards000000
#31 Rodney Parchman200150
#13 Jajuan Jay100130
#22 Nick Klein200150
#33 Stephen Richardson020000
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