New Castle boys roll past Aliquippa
New Castle (71) Vs. Aliquippa (47)
By Clayton Sauertieg
New Castle News
The New Castle High boys basketball team is trained in the art of controlled chaos.
Its stifling 1-2-2 full-court press defense wreaked havoc on non-section opponent Aliquippa on Saturday as the Red Hurricane took home a 71-47 victory on its home court in The Clash High School Basketball Classic.
New Castle (9-1) regularly pressured the Quips’ guards into mistakes and put five scorers into double figures on the way to the blowout victory.
“It was a good victory for us against a really good Aliquippa team,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “Aliquippa-New Castle, when you get those two together in front a big crowd there’s going to be some good athletes and two teams playing really, really hard.”
Senior Geno Stone led the ‘Canes with 15 points and played at the top of Blundo’s zone that has proved hazardous for opposing guards all season long.
Behind him in the zone were senior Garrett Farah and junior Marcus Hooker, both of whom picked off a number of Aliquippa passes as they flew around the court.
“Effort, it’s effort,” Blundo said of what makes his team’s defense so successful. “Our guys have a great ability to play through fatigue and play hard the whole time they’re out there. And obviously we have some athletes with some long arms which helps as well.”
New Castle center Te’Quawn Stewart chipped in with 11 points for New Castle, his second highest total of the year. The 6-foot-2 senior also helped to change a number of Aliquippa shots as part of the last line of defense for the ‘Canes.
“He’s always in the right place, that’s the biggest thing about Te’Quawn,” Blundo said. “I can always count on him to be where he’s supposed to be defensively and offensively and execute what we’re doing on both sides of the floor.
“And then the only other thing I ask him to do is rebound the ball and finish. Catch the ball and finish when he has opportunities and he’s done for us all year and did it well again today.”
New Castle jumped on the the Quips from the start in an uptempo affair. The ‘Canes led 17-6 following the opening quarter on the back of their defense and some hot shooting from Stone and fellow senior Gino DeMonaco who each hit two 3-pointers in the frame. DeMonaco would finish with 12 points in the game on four 3-pointers.
New Castle’s perimeter game was on the mark, recording 36 of its 71 points from behind the arc.
“We’ve got a lot of shooters who can space the floor,” Blundo said of his team’s performance from deep. “Stone and DeMonaco can step out and hit shots, Garrett can hit shots, and we’ve got some other guys who can shoot it as well. Obviously it really helps them when they can get going early.”
Stone led five New Castle players in double figures with 15 points. DeMonaco was next with 12 points, while Stewart, Hooker and Farah contributed 11 points each.
“We’re starting to see what this team can be,” Blundo said. “With the late football season, we had some guys who didn’t quite have their stamina up. Now guys are getting into shape and we’re playing some really good basketball.”
Senior Mecca France scored nine points to lead the way for the Quips, who struggled to get their offense going throughout the game.
“It was a really strong performance for us,” Blundo said.