New Castle pulls away to beat Central Valley
New Castle (87) Vs. Central Valley (66)
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News

The New Castle High boys basketball team laid claim to a section championship last night.

A share, at least.

Five Red Hurricane players scored in double figures in an 87-66 WPIAL Section 2-AAA win over Central Valley in front of a large crowd at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.

The win locks up no less than a piece of the section title for New Castle (9-0 section, 18-0 overall). The ’Canes are ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and No. 2 in the state in Class AAA by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

Beaver (6-3, 14-4) and Blackhawk (6-3, 10-6) are tied for second. New Castle owns a sweep of Beaver, and a win over the Cougars on the road. The ’Canes host Blackhawk on Tuesday. New Castle would have to lose its last three section games and the Cougars would have to win out to share the title. The Bobcats, who were swept by the ’Canes, would get a section plaque, too, if they win out coupled with three New Castle losses.

Despite the accomplishment, it isn’t on the radar of second-year New Castle coach Ralph Blundo just yet.

“I haven’t even addressed it,” Blundo said of the title. “We went in there (to the locker room) and I didn’t’ tell them you are section champs, I didn’t say anything. Because we’re not completely section champs yet.

“I feel like I know how to fuel their fire. I try to keep reminding them every day that we have to get better every day. That’s our goal, to get better every day in practice and in the games. This program is based on little things taking care of big things.”

The Warriors (6-4, 11-8) battled New Castle throughout the first half, trailing 20-17 after the first quarter and 42-31 at the break.

The ’Canes used a 14-0 run that started with 3:14 left in the third quarter and carried over to the 7:10 mark of the fourth to put the game away at 69-42.

Malik Hooker and Shawn Anderson paced the ’Canes with 23 points apiece. Hooker was 10 of 15 from the field, netting 14 of his career-high markers in the second half when New Castle pulled away. Hooker added team-highs of 10 rebounds and five steals as well.

“We’re an unselfish basketball team,” Hooker said. “We just give the ball to whoever is scoring and go from there. “We’re a team. We all just want to keep practicing hard each day and give 110 percent.”

Anderson was 11 of 16 from the floor with seven rebounds and three assists.

“Shawn was under the weather,” Blundo said. “It’s kind of weird when you’re sick. Sometimes you play some of your best ballgames when you’re sick. He was just very patient down low tonight.”

Brandon Domenick and Corey Eggleston tossed in 11 points each for the winners. Domenick distributed five assists with three steals.

“Last year, the section championship was the best feeling ever,” Domenick said. “We just want to repeat that and move on.

“Some nights I have my scoring nights and some nights I distribute the ball more. I just have to get the guys the ball because I know they’re going to make the shots.”

Domenick said the team doesn’t focus on records or accomplishments.

“We try not to think about it,” he said of a section championship. “Coach keeps us humbled. We don’t think ahead because that’s when you slip up.

“This year, we’re taking it one game at a time and one practice at a time.”

Eggleston handed out a team-high 10 assists. One of Eggleston’s assists came on an alley-oop to Antonio Rudolph for a thunderous dunk with 4:23 remaining to up the count to 82-50.

Rudolph added 10 markers on 5-of-6 shooting with nine rebounds.

“When we get that kind of production between guys like Malik and Tone (Rudolph), like the performance they gave tonight, that was a monster night for those two,” Blundo said of their scoring and rebounding.

New Castle returns to section action at 7:30 p.m. Friday when it travels to Hopewell (2-7, 5-12).
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 20 22 23 22 0 87
Central Valley 17 14 11 24 0 66
Box Scores
Curtis Lewis 9 1-3 23
Lucas Bandish 3 0-0 8
Daniel Steffine 5 1-2 11
Chad Phillis 2 2-4 6
Brian Kolich 3 1-2 8
Matt Kline 1 1-2 3
Rick Zuk 2 0-0 5
Dan Beaver 1 0-0 2
Nick Miller 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 26 6-13 66.

Brandon Domenick 4 0-0 11
Corey Eggleston 2 7-8 11
Shawn Anderson 11 1-2 23
Anthony Richards 0 0-0 0
Malik Hooker 10 2-4 23
Antonio Rudolph 5 0-0 10
Jermaine Cuffie 3 0-0 6
Stew Allen 0 0-0 0
Jesse Salzano 0 2-3 2
Drew Allen 0 1-2 1
Levar Ware 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 35 13-19 87.

C. VALLEY 17 14 11 24 — 66
NEW CASTLE 20 22 23 22 — 87

3-point goals — Central Valley 8 (Lewis 4, Bandish 2, Kolich 1, Zuk 1), New Castle 4 (Domenick 3, Hooker 1).
JV score: New Castle 50, Central Valley 28. High scorer: NC — Levar Ware 12, Stew Allen 12, Jesse Salzano 10.

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