Allderdice too strong for New Castle
New Castle (49) Vs. Allerdice (75)
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News

PITTSBURGH — Too much size. Too much strength. Too much athleticism.

Ultimately, in a showdown tagged with game of the year potential, it was too much for the visiting New Castle High boys basketball team to handle in front of a standing-room only crowd at Taylor Allderdice.

While the opening eight minutes fit the illustrious billing, Allderdice proved why it is considered the best team in the state as the Dragons knocked out the 'Canes with a 75-49 nonsection victory Monday night.

"I thought this was going to be a momentum-type game," New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. "They certainly proved how good they are, that’s a great basketball team out there and sometimes the other team is just better. And that was the case tonight.”

Geno Stone led New Castle with 14 points, 12 coming from beyond the arc. Allderdice featured four players to reach the double-digit plateau, spearheaded by James Jackson's 23 points.

The 'Canes (21-1) took an early advantage midway through the first quarter thanks to a Marcus Hooker layup and a Micah Fulena 3-pointer. Allderdice would respond with three straight buckets, the last two courtesy of a Jackson breakaway slam, to give the Dragons the slim lead.

That small advantage would continue to expand thanks to 11 straight points early in the second quarter as the Dragons switched to a 1-3-1 zone defense that frustrated New Castle.

“We went with the trap up front and put Jimmy up front," Allderdice coach Buddy Valinksy said. "He can hawk people up out there. Changing that defense sort of hurt them a little bit."

Added Blundo, "It was the run outs and their overall speed. We’re a pretty fast basketball team, but that’s a whole other level of athleticism and ability. Certainly we have some athletes too, but Allderdice played a great game tonight and deserved to win.”

The Dragons (20-1) would stretch their lead all the way to 23 points in the third quarter, even as Stone hit all four of his successful deep shots in the quarter. Allderdice would hold that large advantage all the way through the final buzzer.

Allderdice forced turnovers the way the 'Canes usually frustrate their opposition, turning the ball over 19 times. On several occasions, those turnovers led to easy transition points for Allderdice.

“We tried to get kids in the right spots offensively, but you credit those turnovers to Allderdice," Blundo said. "I can’t say that we didn’t turn the ball over a lot, we turned it over a lot because of Allderdice. The credit goes to them for that.”

New Castle also struggled to shoot from the field, hitting just 18 of it 53 attempts (34 percent) from the field. In turn, the Dragons continued to find the bottom of the net with a 34-of-56 (60.7 percent) shooting performance.

While the loss brings an end to the aspirations of another undefeated season, Blundo was more concerned about how his team would respond in the face of adversity. The 'Canes will have the chance to prove themselves in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, where they will most likely receive the top seed and a bye.

“For a team that has been spoiled by victory I thought, at times, our composure wasn’t as good as I want a Red Hurricane to be," Blundo said. "But that’s my job to continue to teach and correct and make sure it’s better. In defense of our kids, you hope your kids respond great in the
most adverse but, this year, this was their first true adverse situation.

“Our kids were going to work hard no matter what. It was just a great reminder that we still have a long way to go."

Game Scoreboard
New Castle 12 7 20 10 0 49
Pittsburgh Allerdice 14 21 18 22 0 75
Box Scores
Marquel Hooker 2 1-2 7
Geno Stone 5 0-0 14
Micah Fulena 2 0-0 5
Garrett Farah 2 0-0 6
Te'Quawn Stewart 1 0-0 2
Marcus Hooker 4 0-0 8
Pat Minenok 2 1-4 5
Lorenzo Gardner 0 0-2 0
Georgie Eggleston 0 2-2 2
Totals: 18 4-10 49

Tim Pugh 3 1-2 7
Jordan Rawls 5 0-1 10
Tim Jackson 6 0-0 12
Ramon Creighton 6 1-4 14
James Jackson 10 1-4 23
Jahi Ogbonna 2 1-2 5
Tyler Williams 2 0-0 4
Lamar Todd 0 0-0 0
Victor Halls 0 0-0 0
Dujuan Dugger 0 0-0 0
Totals: 34 4-13 75

NEW CASTLE 12 7 20 10 — 49
ALLDERDICE 14 21 18 22 — 75

3-point goals — New Castle 9 (Marq. Hooker 2, Stone 4, Fulena 1, Farah
2), Allderdice 3 (Creighton 1, J. Jackson 2).
JV score: Allderdice 56, New Castle 44. High scorers: NC — Te'Quawn
Stewart 12.
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