New Castle claims section title outright
New Castle (84) Vs. Hopewell (58)
Feb 04, 2012
New Castle News

HOPEWELL — Once again, the ‘D’ was the key for the New Castle High boys basketball team. 

The Red Hurricane’s swarming defense stifled host Hopewell last night in an 84-58 win in WPIAL Section 2-AAA action.

The victory wrapped up the section title for New Castle (10-0 section, 19-0 overall) outright. Last year, they shared the crown with Blackhawk.

“That is important. We were concerned about this game because Hopewell has good basketball players. They are just kind of struggling to get it all together,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “We knew coming on the road late in the year undefeated against a team that’s probably not going to make the playoffs, it certainly would have been a great win for them and given them some momentum going into next year. We knew we would have to play well to win and I thought we played pretty well.”

It all started on the defensive end for the ’Canes. Their pressure caused 12 Vikings turnovers in the first quarter and 20 overall at halftime. At one point in the first quarter, Hopewell (2-8, 5-13) struggled just to get the ball in play. The Vikings were whistled for three-straight 5-second violations for failing to inbound the ball. They finished with four such infractions in the quarter and New Castle scored off each of those forced turnovers.

“We believe in the cliché that defense wins championships and we need to play defense; that’s been our game and we’re not going to back off that no matter who we play against,” said New Castle’s Shawn Anderson, who bucketed a game-high 24 points. “Coach Blundo takes us to another level — everything you do, there’s always something else you can achieve. Once we got 20 turnovers, it was like, ‘OK now we want 5-second calls’ because that adds three or four more turnovers per game and that’s what we’ve been trying to do.”

The ’Canes, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s top-ranked WPIAL Class AAA team and state’s No. 2 squad in the Patriot-News of Harrisburg poll, created a flurry of early turnovers. After Hopewell knotted the game at 2-all, five turnovers sparked New Castle’s 9-0 run. The team held a 23-12 edge at the buzzer.

Blundo’s troops kept it up in the second quarter and shut out the Vikings for the last 4:03 before a harmless bucket halved New Castle’s lead, 44-22, right before the halftime buzzer.

“Our defense generated some offense for us. We were able to get some easy buckets and the result was a real high shooting percentage in the first half,” Blundo said. “We defended well. We really guarded well and were able to generate some turnovers. All in all, I am pleased.”

The ’Canes’ lead ballooned to 31 points, 67-36, through three quarters. New Castle substituted freely throughout the second half and every player, many of whom comprise the team’s unbeaten junior varsity squad, received multiple minutes.

“I have some really good players on the bench that don’t play a ton. They deserve to play. If they were on any other team, they’d be playing a whole lot of minutes,” Blundo said. “Guys were able to get a lot of minutes and it’s great for the camaraderie of the team because the first seven, eight guys have a lot of respect for the other guys because they work them hard every day in practice.”

Malik Hooker added 15 points in the win, while Corey Eggleston finished with 14.

Steven Dadig led Hopewell with 12 points.

The ’Canes turn their attention to Blackhawk at home on Tuesday as they look to extend their unbeaten streak.

“We’re taking it one goal at a time and one game at a time. We come out and play as hard as we can. One of our sayings is ‘Take No Prisoners’ and we’re not. We want to win every game,” Anderson said. “Everyone knows New Castle-Blackhawk is a big rivalry. We’ll get back into the gym and get ready for that game.”

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 23 21 23 17 0 84
Hopewell 12 10 14 22 0 58
Box Scores
Brandon Domenick 2 1-3 6
Corey Eggleston 6 2-3 14
Shawn Anderson 8 8-8 24
Anthony Richards 1 0-0 3
Malik Hooker 6 3-4 15
Antonio Rudolph 1 0-0 2
Jermaine Cuffie 1 1-2 3
Stew Allen 3 2-4 8
Jesse Salzano 1 2-2 4
Drew Allen 1 0-0 2
Levar Ware 1 1-2 3
Totals: 31 20-28 84

David Warren 0 0-0 0
Alize Patton 4 2-2 10
Bryce Smith 3 1-2 7
Steven Dadig 4 1-2 12
Zephaniah Kraus 3 0-0 6
Nolan Harmotto 4 1-4 9
Mike Lindsey 2 1-2 5
Deonte Williams 1 3-3 5
Logan Johnston 1 0-0 2
Jordan Sabo 1 0-0 2
Totals: 23 9-15 58

NEW CASTLE 23 21 23 17 — 84
HOPEWELL 12 10 14 22 — 58

3-point goals — New Castle 2 (Richards 1, Domenick 1), Hopewell 3 (Dadig 3).
JV score: New Castle 52, Hopewell 30. High scorer: NC — Drew Allen 16
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