New Castle boys hold on for win over Beaver Falls
New Castle (66) Vs. Beaver Falls (61)
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
Te'Quawn Stewart gave the New Castle High boys basketball team a spark Tuesday night.
Stewart, a starting center, delivered on both ends of the floor when foul trouble hit teammate Marcus Hooker.
The senior netted a career-high 16 points with a team-high 13 rebounds to lead the Red Hurricane to a 66-61 WPIAL Section 2-4A win over Beaver Falls at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House. Eight of Stewart's boards came on the defensive end.
New Castle (7-0 section, 12-1 overall) is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class 4A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Hooker picked up his third foul with 6:35 left in the third period and his fourth with 3:53 to go in the frame.
New Castle coach Ralph Blundo sat Hooker for the remainder of the third quarter and the hosts up 41-31.
"That's why it's called a basketball team," Blundo said. "You have to find some things out and get some guys in the game that can help you."
Stewart, who was 7 for 7 from the field, contributed six of his points in the third quarter as the 'Canes closed the quarter with a 47-42 advantage.
Blundo inserted Hooker back into the game with four fouls in the first two minutes of the fourth period. But Hooker didn't stick around long, fouling out with 5:43 remaining when Malik Shepherd drove the lane and went up for a shot that rolled off the rim.
Shepherd made two foul shots to cut the deficit to 50-46.
"I probably gamble more than most coaches in that regard with fouls," Blundo said. "I've done that my whole career. That's just me.
"Whether I'm right or wrong, I don't know. We didn't rebound the basketball on the defensive end and when you don't rebound the basketball it turns into fouls."
Stewart contributed immediately for New Castle, cashing in a field goal inside in traffic to put his team up 52-46 with 5:06 to go.
"He did some good things for us," Blundo said of Stewart. "Te'Quawn is just a great young man. He's a good learner and he keeps getting better because he keeps getting better at it and he listens.
"That's a big basket (at 5:06) and those are contested baskets. When you have (6-foot-7) in there and length and long arms going up against Josh Creach, that's not easy."
Said Stewart, "We're a team. When one person is down, someone else has to step up. The coaches always motivate me to go out there and get better every game."
The Tigers (4-3, 6-5) got as close as 62-58 with 26.3 ticks to go, but couldn't get any closer the rest of the way. Torian Leak buried a long 3-pointer at the horn to close the scoring.
The win helped the 'Canes close out the first half of section play undefeated and with a one-game lead over Quaker Valley (6-1, 12-1).
"I'm very happy because it's not easy to do," Blundo said of his team going unbeaten in the first half of league play. "Anyone that thinks it is, they don't really understand. It's not easy to do.
"We're not a great team by any means. But we do enough things right game in and game out to get the victory. We had to have this game. You have to protect your home floor and we did that tonight."
Stewart scored the game's first basket and Beaver Falls forced the game's only tie on the other end. The 'Canes, who never trailed, then grabbed a 10-2 lead and pushed it to 21-10 after one quarter.
"That was important because in the end that was the difference in the game," Blundo said about the strong start.
Gino DeMonaco paced New Castle with 18 points on six 3-pointers. Garrett Farah tossed in 11 markers and Geno Stone added 10.
DeMonaco delivered nine of his points in the first quarter and three more in the second.
"Gino is obviously a really good shooter and our guys have done a really good job of finding him," Blundo said. "He made a couple of 3s to start the first half. That's another big reason why we won this game."
Creach collected a game-high 24 points for Beaver Falls.
The 'Canes return to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host section foe Central Valley (4-3, 9-5).