Lady ’Canes stay in playoff race
New Castle (59) Vs. West Allegheny (36)
The New Castle High girls basketball team came through with a clutch victory last night.

Darrian Johnson tossed in a game-high 22 points to lead the Lady ’Canes to a 59-36 WPIAL Section 2-AAA win over West Allegheny at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.

The win boosts New Castle (3-5 section, 6-10 overall) into the fourth and final playoff berth by a half-game over Ambridge (2-5, 8-6). It’s also a pivotal win because the Lady Indians (1-7, 3-11) knocked off the Lady ’Canes in the first meeting, 55-54.

“We’ve been talking about this game for a couple of weeks now,” said second-year New Castle coach Scott Dibble. “We’re pretty realistic about our abilities to make the playoffs.

“This was an early playoff game. If we want to make it, we have to win. The kids were energized and they had that spring in their step.”

New Castle raced out to a 19-6 lead after one stanza and maintained a 32-18 buffer at the break.

“They came out in a zone and we were prepared for it,” Dibble said. “Kennedy Hudson hit a couple of 3s early and it kind of snowballed from there.”

Dibble pointed to the defense as a key to the win.

“We’ve been harping on the kids to guard more,” he said. “It was a good team effort; I’m really proud of the kids.

“We know defense wins championships and we just have to defend better.”

Velvet Wade followed Johnson’s effort with 11 markers for the victors.

“Darrian Johnson has been pretty consistent for us all year long,” Dibble said.

Angela Martelli registered eight points for West Allegheny.

The Lady ’Canes travel to Ambridge at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a pivotal section game with playoff implications. New Castle won the first meeting, 51-45, and can take command of fourth place with a win.

Game Scoreboard
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
New Castle 19 13 10 17 0 59
West Allegheny 6 12 8 10 0 36
Box Scores
WEST ALLEGHENY (36)
Carolyn Stout 1 0-0 2
Jenna Reilly 2 0-0 5
Lexi Lynn 2 2-6 6
Angela Martelli 3 2-2 8
Janell Lulkovitz 1 3-4 5
DeFrancis 1 0-0 2
Marcurio 1 0-0 2
Reanna Turner 3 0-3 6
Brenna Rupnik 0 0-1 0
Jessica Crider 0 0-0 0
Detta Daniels 0 0-0 0
Victoria Chiodo 0 0-0 0
Mallory Krull 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 14 7-15 36.

NEW CASTLE (59)
Jaidyn Eggleston 2 3-4 7
Kayla Harvey 1 1-2 3
Jamay Walker 3 0-0 6
Velvet Wade 3 5-6 11
Darrian Johnson 7 6-8 22
Jasmine Evans 2 0-0 4
Kennedy Hudson 2 0-0 6.
Totals: 20 15-20 59.
W. ALLEGHENY 6 12 8 10 — 36
NEW CASTLE 19 13 10 17 — 59
3-point goals — West Allegheny 1 (Reilly 1), New Castle 4 (Johnson 2, Hudson 2).
JV score: West Allegheny 35, New Castle 22. High scorer: NC — Abba Frengel 11.
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