Ellwood damages New Castle playoff hopes
Ellwood City (42) Vs. New Castle (36)
By Corey J. Corbin
New Castle News

Teams playing for pride can be dangerous.

The New Castle High girls basketball team discovered just how much trouble one of those teams can be in a 42-36 WPIAL Section 2-AAA loss to host Ellwood City Lincoln last night.

“It was amazing,” Lady Wolverines coach Dena Noble said. “We were only playing for ourselves. I told the girls that we’re playing for pride and we’re playing to let the league know that we’re improving.”

The Lady ’Canes were playing for a lot more.

A win over Ellwood City would have guaranteed New Castle (4-7 section, 7-13 overall) a postseason berth. Now, the Lady ’Canes need to upset section champion Blackhawk (10-1 17-2) on Thursday and hope West Allegheny (2-9, 5-14) can beat Ambridge (4-7, 10-8) on Friday.

If both happen or both teams lose their final section game, New Castle and Ambridge would tie for fourth place and both would qualify since the teams split their two matchups this year. A New Castle win and an Ambridge loss would eliminate the Lady Bridgers. The Lady ’Canes would be knocked out of postseason consideration with a loss and Ambridge victory over West Allegheny.

“It’s unfortunate,” New Castle coach Scott Dibble said. “I feel bad for the kids. If we win this game, we’re in the playoffs. Now, we have to beat Blackhawk to get in. They’ve already locked up the section, so they’ll probably rest their starters, so they don’t get hurt. We might have an outside chance.

“Ambridge lost, so that helps our cause, but it doesn’t really matter, because we needed to win. If we win, we’re in and it’s done. I wanted to control our own destiny. I don’t want to count on anybody else. You count on yourself.”

The Lady Wolverines (2-10, 7-15) jumped out to an early 6-0 lead on a pair of Bailey McKinney layups before New Castle roared back to take a 13-11 lead into the second quarter.

The Lady ’Canes pushed its lead to 26-19 moments into the second half.

“We lack consistency,” Noble said. “We haven’t played 32 minutes of basketball this season. We have a young team and that’s one of the things of a young team, you lack consistency. They still panic when they get the ball. I start four sophomores and a junior. They have that experience now. Hopefully, they’ll be more consistent next year.”

Karington Ketterer sparked a 10-0 Ellwood City run with five points and the Lady Wolverines took their first lead since early in the first quarter at 29-26.

A Darrian Johnson layup pulled the Lady ’Canes to within 29-28 near the end of the third quarter, but they’d get no closer. McKinney scored six of her 10 points in the fourth quarter to help Ellwood City to a late nine-point lead.

“We don’t play defense,” Dibble said. “You can print that. We don’t guard people and we lost. That’s it. It’s that simple.

“The kids didn’t do what they were supposed to do. They weren’t in position. We didn’t execute. No patience offensively. They do what they want to do. This is what you get.”

Ellwood City used Cheyenne Annarumo, Allesandra McKelvey and Cortni Prine to limit Johnson to just eight points. Johnson entered the game, averaging 18.8 points a game.

“We faceguarded their best player,” Noble said. “I started in a box-and-one, but that wasn’t working, so I went to the man-to-man. That threw them out of their game. They need to get the ball to Johnson.

“I told them that I was going to rotate three at her, so I could keep fresh legs on her at all times. They shut her down. I don’t know what she ended up with, but it was well below her average. Cheyenne, Cortni and (McKelvey), I give them a lot of credit.”

Ketterer topped Ellwood City with a game-high 16 points and seven rebounds.

“This isn’t the end,” said Noble, whose team ended its season with the win. “This is the beginning of a new program for us. We only have one senior. I have my entire starting five back for next year. We were playing to send a message that we’re here to play.”

Velvet Wade paced New Castle with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Kayla Harvey added nine points and seven rebounds.
Game Scoreboard
Ellwood City 11 6 13 12 0 42
New Castle 13 11 4 8 0 36
Box Scores
Jaidyn Eggleston 2 0-0 5
Kayla Harvey 4 1-1 9
Jamay Walker 1 1-4 3
Velvet Wade 5 1-7 12
Darrian Johnson 3 0-2 7
Jasmine Evans 0 0-0 0
Tania Brothers 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 15 3-14 36.
Cortni Prine 2 1-4 5
Bailey McKinney 3 4-6 10
Cheyenne Annarumo 0 1-2 1
Katelyn Wardman 1 0-0 2
Allesandra McKelvey 2 2-3 6
Karington Ketterer 5 6-11 16
Emily Brown 1 0-0 2
Sydney Shurtz 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 14 14-26 42.
NEW CASTLE 13 11 4 8 — 36
ELLWOOD 11 6 13 12 — 42
3-point goals — New Castle 3 (Johnson 1, Eggleston 1, Wade 1).
JV score: Ellwood City 35, New Castle 25. High scorer: EC — Paige Mason 12; NC — Abba Frengel 11.

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