’Canes blast Blackhawk
New Castle (82) Vs. Blackhawk (44)
Feb 08, 2012
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News

The drought is over for the New Castle High boys basketball program.

The Red Hurricane last swept Blackhawk in a home-and-home series in the same year during the 1980-81 season.
That dry spell came to an end last night.

Senior standout Corey Eggleston poured in a game-high 25 points to lead New Castle to an 82-44 WPIAL Section 2-AAA win over the Cougars at a jam-packed Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.

New Castle (11-0 section, 20-0 overall) defeated the Cougars at home in the 80-81 season (68-38) and on the road (74-49). The teams haven’t been a consistent section rival following that season, though.

The ’Canes rolled to a 78-46 win over Blackhawk in the first matchup this season to set up the possibility of a sweep.

New Castle is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and No. 2 in the state by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

“We have a lot of respect for Blackhawk and their program,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “Maybe it’s an indication of where our program is right now.”

Eggleston made his last performance at the Field House a memorable one, recording a game-best 10 rebounds as well on Senior Night.

“I never thought I would end things like this,” Eggleston said of his career at the field house. “I knew we had the ability to do it as a team. Things just turned out the way I always dreamt of them to be; I’m very happy.

“I love playing here and I love playing with my teammates and I love playing here in front of my family. I know it’s just a lot of hard work every day.”
Said Blundo, “What better way to play your last game here at New Castle than just playing an unbelievable all-around basketball game in front of 2,000 people against Blackhawk? The growth of Corey Eggleston from the beginning of the year two years ago to now is just unspeakable.”

Blackhawk (7-4, 11-8) came out with a slowdown approach and scored the first bucket on a Nick Martin field goal in the lane for a 2-0 lead 2:18 into the contest. New Castle rallied to forge a 15-13 lead before settling for an 18-13 advantage after one quarter.

That’s when the storm hit.

Blundo urged his players to “make them play faster” during a break in the action. His statement worked, as New Castle outscored the Cougars, 31-4, to close the first half and mount a comfortable 46-17 halftime lead.

“Let’s get it in the next gear; that’s what that was about,” Blundo said. “That’s been our staple all year. One major-league run.”

Eggleston and his teammates knew exactly what Blundo was looking for from his team.

“He either tells us to make them play faster or if you have to guard for a minute, then guard for a minute,” Eggleston said. “When we hear them four words, we just step up and we play tough defense.”

It worked, as Blackhawk committed 14 first-half turnovers, nine in the second quarter.

The Cougars scored the first four points of the second half, but the ’Canes quickly rebounded to build a 61-33 lead going to the fourth quarter.

Shawn Anderson followed Eggleston’s effort with 13 points, while Anthony Richards and Malik Hooker added 12 apiece. Senior Jermaine Cuffie started in place of Hooker as a Senior Night tribute. Cuffie recorded five fourth-quarter points, three on a field goal from behind the arc.

“Jermaine is a senior who has worked hard day in and day out for us,” Blundo said. “He’s just a special kid and I’m real happy for him.

“The 3-pointer was so special to him because he wants to be a 3-man so bad.”

New Castle celebrated its section championship, which was captured last week, by cutting down the net after the game.

“Section champs means a lot to us. But we have bigger goals now,” Eggleston said.

Martin paced the Cougars with 21 points. Senior guard Cory Ostach, who shared the section MVP honors with Eggleston last year, missed the game with a foot injury. He’s expected back for the playoffs.

New Castle returns to section action at 8 p.m. Friday at Ambridge in a boys/girls doubleheader.

Even the ’Canes’ junior varsity squad is gunning for perfection. New Castle is 15-0 after last night’s 50-32 win over Blackhawk.

(E-mail: rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com).
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 18 28 15 21 0 82
Blackhawk 13 4 16 11 0 44
Box Scores
Brian Alviani 2 1-2 6
Josh Desmond 2 0-1 4
Nick Martin 10 1-3 21
Brendan McKay 2 0-0 4
Chase Migliore 2 0-1 4
Alex Cooke 2 0-0 4
Logan Frye 0 1-2 1
Richie Rowe 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 20 3-9 44.

Brandon Domenick 1 0-0 3
Corey Eggleston 9 7-7 25
Shawn Anderson 5 0-0 13
Anthony Richards 4 0-0 12
Malik Hooker 5 2-3 12
Antonio Rudolph 2 0-0 4
Jermaine Cuffie 2 0-0 5
Jesse Salzano 1 2-2 4
Drew Allen 1 2-2 4
Levar Ware 0 0-0 0
Paul Jones 0 0-0 0.
Totals: 30 13-14 82.

BLACKHAWK 13 4 16 11 — 44
NEW CASTLE 18 28 15 21 — 82

3-point goals — Blackhawk 1 (Alviani 1), New Castle 9 (Domenick 1, Anderson 3, Richards 4, Cuffie 1).
JV score: New Castle 50, Blackhawk 32. High scorer: NC — Stew Allen 20, Levar Ware 10.
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