New Castle opens Dibble era with win
New Castle (43) Vs. Neshannock (35)
By Joe Sager
New Castle News
A new era began on a positive note last night for the New Castle High girls basketball team.
The Lady ’Canes held on to beat Neshannock, 43-35, in the New Castle Tipoff Tournament. It was the team’s first win under new coach Scott Dibble.
“It’s my first year here, so it’s nice to get that first win under the belt and I am happy for the kids,” said Dibble, who racked up a 267-55 record and two PIAA Class AA titles in 11 seasons at Villa Maria Academy in Erie. “A win is a win and some are uglier than others, but I will take it.”
New Castle meets Lake Ridge Academy at 5:30 p.m. in today’s championship clash. The Lady Lancers take on Pine-Richland at 1:30 p.m. in the consolation game.
“I saw some good things tonight and we’ll build on that,” Dibble said. “We have an opportunity to win a championship. This Lake Ridge team looks pretty good, so we’ll watch them on tape and go over some things in a shootaround and make sure we’re ready to go.”
Neshannock coach Luann Grybowski, a former New Castle girls coach, was encouraged with her team’s effort despite the setback. Faced with an inexperienced nine-player roster this year, the Lady Lancers battled their way back from a 26-point deficit early in the third quarter.
“I think it was a great effort. These kids hustle and listen. They try to do the right thing. They follow instruction. Nobody hangs their head. We got down big early and they played with the same enthusiasm, hustle and drive and that’s what I love about them. They played hard until the end,” she said. “We have nine kids. We haven’t even played 5-on-5 in practice yet. So, to go against that team speed, I think we did a great job. We were a step behind and threw some passes away early, but those are all correctable errors. If they are going to hustle like that for me all season, I’ll be the happiest coach around.”
New Castle raced to an 11-2 lead after the first quarter. The Lady ’Canes’ defensive pressure hindered Neshannock in the second quarter. Turnovers allowed New Castle to separate itself for a 32-11 halftime advantage.
The Lady ’Canes posted a 39-15 lead after three quarters, but the Lady Lancers stormed back in the final stanza. They outscored New Castle, 20-4. The deficit was too large, though, and the Lady ’Canes settled for the eight-point triumph.
“When we came out in the second half, I told them our goal was to win the second half and I think we did,” Grybowski said. “We’ll take it one game at a time and I want us to get better every day in practice and with every game we play. The more experience they get, the better they’re going to be.”
Dibble was pleased with the win, but knows his team, also with a small roster, must get better.
“It’s a process and it’s going to be in stages. I thought we came out and played a really good first half. We were patient; we played hard. In the second half, we started to run out of gas and get tired, started making lazy decisions and we weren’t moving our feet defensively. Neshannock knocked down some shots. Give them a lot of credit because they played hard to the end,” he said. “I was pleased with the way we pressured the basketball.
“We wanted to hawk the ball and create some havoc and I think we did a great job of that in the first half. I told the girls that you have to play 32 minutes of basketball. We’ll work a little harder in practice and run a little more.”
Kelsey Scott led New Castle with 14 points, while Dana Perrotta added 11.
Tayler Grybowski had 14 points for Neshannock. Katie Burrelli added 10 points.