’Canes take over first place in style
New Castle (83) Vs. Central Valley (54)
Jan 07, 2012
By Joe Simon
New Castle News

MONACA — One team was in first place, the other in second.

One team played like it was in first place, the other team played ... like it wasn’t.

New Castle High thoroughly dominated Central Valley, 83-54, in a WPIAL Section 2-AAA clash that didn’t live up to expectations, for the Warriors at least.

The Red Hurricane (3-0 section, 10-0 overall) came in a half-game behind Central Valley (3-1, 7-4), but it was evident from the start that New Castle was the better team. The ’Canes flew out to an 11-0 lead and never allowed the Warriors within single digits the rest of the way.

“They were in first place, not us,” said New Castle coach Ralph Blundo of why his team came out so fired up. “They don’t need any more motivation than playing for first place. We really thought that getting out of the gate quickly would have a big impact on the game, and it really did.”

Four ’Canes scored in double figures, led by Shawn Anderson’s 25. He also corralled a team-best 14 rebounds and dished out six assists. Malik Hooker followed with 16 points and nine boards, Corey Eggleston scored 15 and Brandon Domenick added 12. The ball movement was textbook by New Castle, which constantly penetrated to the hoop and passed out to an open shooter — and there were several.

“We never guarded all night long,” Central Valley coach Brandon Ambrose said. “The just really shredded us in every capacity they could. Part of that’s them, and part of that was us. They’re a really hard team to play.

“Because they shoot it so well, you’re always closing out on shooters, and they can all handle the ball, so they’re going by you and they’re creating and passing. It just kills your defensive rotation.”

The ’Canes went up by 18 in the first quarter, and as soon as the Warriors made a mini run, cutting it to 38-25 in the second, Eggleston hit a deep 3-pointer to deflate the momentum. Central Valley stayed within striking distance, trailing by 14 at the half, but a 10-4 run to start the third quarter put the ’Canes well out of reach.

Anderson said it meant a lot to New Castle to finish the game from a defensive standpoint, regardless of the score. He also talked about the importance of the team attitude exhibited by the ’Canes.

“We’re a very unselfish team — that’s one thing we’ve always been — and it’s just natural now,” he said. “A lot of times we know what teams are doing to stop our good traits, like shooting, and this time Anthony (Richards) and Brandon were wide open on the outside, so we just kept giving it to them.”

Richards was a big part of the first-quarter spurt by New Castle. He drilled two 3s in the frame and played solid defense against Central Valley’s Curtis Lewis throughout the game. Lewis, one of the top scorers in the section, finished with 10 points.
“He had 29 against West Allegheny the other night,” Blundo said of Lewis. “Both Corey and Anthony split time covering him, and I thought they did a good job locking him up.”

Even Lewis couldn’t stop the bleeding in the first quarter, when the Warriors committed eight of their 17 turnovers. New Castle’s press defense and half-court traps smothered Central Valley and any chance it had of setting the tone.

“That’s the old New Castle way, as a lot of people say,” Anderson said. “We play defense full court. We’re a lot shorter than most teams, so we pressure them into turnovers. That’s how we want to play.”

It sure seems to be working.

(Email: j_simon@ncnewsonline.com)
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 25 19 23 16 0 83
Central Valley 11 19 10 14 0 54
Box Scores
Brandon Domenick 4 1-2 12
Corey Eggleston 4 6-8 15
Shawn Anderson 9 5-5 25
Anthony Richards 3 0-0 8
Malik Hooker 4 8-9 16
Antonio Rudolph 1 1-4 3
Drew Allen 1 0-0 3
Jesse Salzano 1 0-0 3
Totals: 27 21-28 83

Michael Sims 2 0-0 4
Curtis Lewis 5 0-0 10
Daniel Steffine 4 0-0 12
Chad Phillis 4 0-0 8
Rayquan Newton 1 1-3 3
Aaron Law 4 5-8 13
Brian Kolich 0 2-2 2
Rick Zuk 1 0-0 2
Totals: 21 8-13 54

NEW CASTLE 25 19 23 16 — 83
CENTRAL VALLEY 11 19 10 14 — 54

3-point goals — New Castle 7 (Domenick 3, Richards 2, Eggleston 1, D. Allen 1), Central Valley 4 (Steffine 4).
JV score: New Castle 48, Central Valley 42. High scorer: NC — Drew Allen 18, Stew Allen 16.
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