Knoch withstands New Castle rally
Knoch (74) Vs. New Castle (60)
Dec 28, 2007
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
BEAVER FALLS — The New Castle High boys basketball team needs to find a cure for what is ailing it.
Knoch took command early and withstood a run by the Red Hurricane to register a 74-60 win last night in the second round of the Blackhawk Christmas Tournament at Blackhawk High School.
The ’Canes (3-8) lost their fourth straight game, all of which came by an average of 25.5 markers a contest. They will square off against Kennedy Catholic at noon today in the final round of the tournament.
“I think winning is a habit and I think losing is a habit,” New Castle coach Mark Stanley said. “If you get into either habit, you learn how to win games and that’s what we’re not doing; that’s a big concern.”
For the second straight night, New Castle, which never led, got off to a slow start. The Knights (6-4) raced to a quick 8-0 lead that swelled to 13-2.
“We changed defenses to start (the game), trying something different,” Stanley said. “We weren’t locating or communicating out there.
“Communication is a weakness of ours and that’s why we continue to fall in a hole. Tonight, we were able to climb out of it but it’s discouraging. We have to get off to faster starts.”
The ’Canes battled back to get within 22-17 after the first stanza. They squandered many solid opportunities in the quarter by missing shots in the lane that could have given them the lead.
“We shot the ball well early and that’s why we got up quickly,” Knights coach Chris Andreassi said. “We got stagnant, though; flat-footed.
“I thought we played the zone pretty well but then our hands got down our feet got flat and we just didn’t have energy to maintain our strong start.”
The Knights lost starting guard Shawn Samek in the first quarter with 1:08 remaining with a dislocated shoulder. He came crashing down under the basket on a rebound attempt. Samek was scoreless but he had three assists.
“It’s a huge loss,” Andreassi said. “He’s the guy that engineers our offense and defense and he’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached.”
Knoch wasn’t able to pull away in the second quarter, building a 34-23 advantage before New Castle narrowed it to 37-32 at the break.
The ’Canes scored the first four points of the third to get as close as 37-36 with 6:44 left. Looking for its first lead of the game, New Castle had a pair of possessions end in turnovers. A third possession finished in a missed shot in the lane and the Knights were able to gradually build the advantage back up.
“We couldn’t convert on any of them,” Stanley said. “We have to do the little things.
“You have to execute and do the things that you can do and we didn’t get it done at that point. We let some offensive rebounds go, didn’t hit some little shots that we need to knock down; we need to execute.”
The one-point differential proved to be the closest the ’Canes would get the entire game.
Knoch finished off a struggling New Castle squad with a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter.
“This was a tough game,” Andreassi said. “I’m happy to get a win.”
Nick Colella bounced back from a scoreless effort against Blackhawk for a team-high 18 points and 13 rebounds. Tyrone Steals added 12 markers and seven rebounds, while Mike Andrews chipped in with 11 points and 10 boards.
“Nick got to the hoop and rebounded well. We need that kind of effort from him,” Stanley said.
Nick Klein recorded a career-best 10 points off the bench for the ’Canes.
Jacob McTighe led all scorers with 21 points for the Knights and Michael Gallagher contributed 19.
Knoch’s Robert Briggs tallied his 1,000th career point on a bucket with 2:43 left in the second quarter. He finished with 17 points.