New Castle remains perfect
New Castle (91) Vs. Ambridge (45)
Feb 11, 2012
By Joe Sager
New Castle News

AMBRIDGE — The regular season is winding down, but the New Castle High boys basketball team is ramping up — in a big way.

Last night, the Red Hurricane had four players score in double figures in a 91-45 shellacking at Ambridge in WPIAL Section 2-AAA action.

The triumph wrapped up a perfect section championship for New Castle (12-0 section, 21-0 overall). The ’Canes can complete their first perfect season in a decade with a win Monday at Sharon. New Castle went 24-0 in the 2001-02 campaign while competing in Class AAAA and in a 24-game regular season. The PIAA has since shortened the regular season to 22 games.

“Once we got to 11-0, then an undefeated section championship became a goal,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “All of a sudden, (the unbeaten regular season) becomes a goal, too. That wasn’t a goal at the beginning of the year, but when you get to 21-0, you might as well get to 22-0.

“Sharon is a very good team. They beat us twice last year, so we don’t own a victory against Sharon yet. We’re looking forward to that game. I think it’ll be a good game going into the playoffs.”

New Castle’s players immediately turned their focus to the talented Tigers, who are among District 10’s top Class AAA squads.

“We want to get to 22-0 and start a run in the playoffs,” said New Castle’s Anthony Richards, who tallied a game-high 20 points. “It only matters where you stand at the end, so we’re looking forward to continuing to play well heading into the playoffs.”

The ’Canes’ effort was impressive, especially since they played without regulars Shawn Anderson and Antonio Rudolph, who were given the night off to help recover from ankle injuries. Both are expected to return to the starting lineup Monday.

“I don’t know too many teams who can lose players like Shawn Anderson and Antonio Rudolph and still play well. We did that. Other guys stepped up and played really, really well,” Blundo said. “Both of them have been struggling with ankle injuries. It’s nothing serious, but we thought that the bigger picture was more important and we thought we had some guys who could hold the fort and they did that. So, keeping them out was totally precautionary.”

New Castle made its presence known in the first as it raced to a 28-14 lead over the Bridgers (1-11, 4-16). Malik Hooker scored nine of his 13 points in the frame to boost the ’Canes.

In the second, it was Brandon Domenick’s turn to take over as he swished a trio of 3-pointers and tallied 11 of his 16 points in the quarter. New Castle boasted a 56-26 halftime advantage.

Richards shined in the third quarter. He tallied eight of his 20 points in the frame, including a pair of 3-pointers. All told, he cashed in on six treys.

“We are such a deep team; we can go so deep off the bench,” he said. “When you have all those guys creating shots and they give me the ball and I am wide-open, it’s nice. I wouldn’t be able to get those shots off without those guys creating looks for me.”

The ’Canes, who played most of the second half with the mercy rule (running clock) in effect, pushed their lead to 77-34 after the third. They finished nine points short of reaching the century mark for the second time this season.

“One of the things I am proud of our guys, we’ve really been in the situation a lot of times this year where the other teams have been a bit overmatched and we’ve been very workmanlike, regardless of the situation,” Blundo said. “That’s not an easy thing to do. I am proud of them for that.”

Corey Eggleston was the other New Castle player to reach double digits as he added 14 points. Jermaine Cuffie had nine, while Stew Allen finished with eight.

Malik Walker’s 12 points led Ambridge, which closed the season with a 10-game losing streak.

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 28 28 21 14 0 91
Ambridge 14 12 8 11 0 45
Box Scores
Brandon Domenick 6 0-0 16
Corey Eggleston 7 0-0 14
Anthony Richards 7 0-1 20
Malik Hooker 1 1-2 3
Jermaine Cuffie 4 1-4 9
Stew Allen 4 0-0 8
Jesse Salzano 1 1-2 3
Drew Allen 2 2-2 6
Paul Jones 1 0-0 2
Totals: 37 7-13 91

Brandon Hoo 1 0-2 2
Kody Nichi 0 0-0 0
Will Stanley 1 0-0 3
Malik Walker 5 2-3 12
Jordan Sweigart 4 2-2 10
Keenan Baker 5 0-0 10
Stephon McGinnis 1 2-3 4
Daylon Carter 1 2-2 4
Totals: 18 8-12 45

NEW CASTLE 28 28 21 14 — 91
AMBRIDGE 14 12 8 11 — 45

3-point goals — New Castle 10 (Richards 6, Domenick 4), Ambridge 1 (Stanley 1).
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