Without Waters, Lady ’Canes fall to Blackhawk
Blackhawk (63) Vs. New Castle (50)
The New Castle High girls basketball team learned a lot last night in a WPIAL Section 2-AAA clash with Blackhawk.

The Lady ’Canes found out they could compete against good teams even without star guard Kaylynn Waters. They also discovered they can’t afford to endure big deficits against those elite teams.

That’s just what happened in a 63-50 road loss to the Lady Cougars, who moved into first place by percentage points with the victory.

New Castle (7-1 section, 11-5 overall) took an early 15-13 lead against Blackhawk (8-1, 16-1), but the Lady Cougars went on an 11-0 second-quarter run to take a 31-28 halftime lead.

“The free throws killed us,” New Castle coach Jason Rankin said. “We were 3 for 10 from the line in the first half. Dana Perrotta hit a 3 right before the half to make it a three-point game, but if we make those free throws, we’re in the lead. We had their guards in foul trouble, and we would have been in good position.”

Instead, it was Blackhawk that was poised for a run.

The Lady Cougars, whose lone defeat was to New Castle, scored the first six points of the third quarter to build a lead the Lady ’Canes couldn’t overcome. Blackhawk’s lead stretched to 14 in the fourth before New Castle, playing its first game since losing Waters to a knee injury on Tuesday against Vincentian Academy, went on a 7-0 run to cut it to 56-49. That’s as close as it would get, though.

Blackhawk’s Halle Denman (19 points) and Alexis Graham (14) helped it close out New Castle.

“They really pounded the glass,” Rankin said. “Denman scored nine in the third quarter, and we just kind of got caught scrambling. Without Kaylynn, we don’t have that explosive nature to score 10 or 15 points in a row.”

New Castle’s Christina Talbert led all scorers with 22 points, including eight in the third to keep the Lady ’Canes close. Dana Perrotta provided 11, including two 3s.

Rankin said he saw some positives in the loss. The Lady ’Canes battled Blackhawk, ranked No. 3 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for most of the game. New Castle, ranked No. 2, just couldn’t sustain the energy to finish.

“Blackhawk needed this game to have a chance at winning the section,” Rankin said. “So they played with a certain degree of desperation and I thought we matched it for a while, but their guards took control in the third quarter. Once they made some plays, we just didn’t have enough gas in the tank to come back. It’s not that we were dead tired, but once we got behind, it was harder to press. It was a hot gym and we were down a player.”

New Castle hopes to find out how long they’ll be without Waters after a doctor’s appointment today.

“I was really proud because we battled hard,” Rankin said. “The schedule wasn’t kind to us, playing Vincentian Tuesday and then (at Blackhawk) today. Even with Kaylynn it was a tall task. But if she doesn’t come back, we can make some adjustments and we can still contend.”

New Castle returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Monday when it welcomes section rival Hopewell at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.
Game Scoreboard
Blackhawk 13 18 19 13 0 63
New Castle 15 13 10 12 0 50
Box Scores
Rachael Razzano 1 0-0 2
Dana Perrotta 4 0-0 11
Kelsey Scott 3 3-8 9
Christina Talbert 9 4-7 22
Ki’Ria McPhatter 1 0-0 2
Darrian Johnson 0 0-0 0
Brandy Stewart 2 0-0 4.
Totals: 20 7-15 50.

Bridgette Shaffer 4 0-0 10
Chassidy Omogrosso 4 2-2 10
Jamie Emge 0 0-0 0
Halle Denman 8 2-3 19
Danielle Levato 1 0-2 2
Alexis Graham 6 2-5 14
Courtney Vannoy 4 0-2 8.
Totals: 27 6-14 63.

NEW CASTLE 15 13 10 12 — 50
BLACKHAWK 13 18 19 13 — 63

3-point goals — New Castle 3 (Perrotta 3), Blackhawk 4 (Shaffer 3, Denman 1).
JV score: New Castle 52, Blackhawk 44. High scorer: NC — Ki’Ria McPhatter 18.

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