Imani Christian tops New Castle
New Castle (26) Vs. Imani Christian (27)
Dec 05, 2014
By Joe Sager
New Castle News

New Castle’s young girls basketball team got some good experience last night.

For the Lady ’Canes, though, those lessons ended in a bad result.

New Castle saw a nine-point lead evaporate in the fourth quarter as Imani Christian Academy rallied to post a 27-26 win at the New Castle Tipoff Classic.

“We went on a turnover barrage late in the fourth quarter and you just can’t do that,” New Castle coach Scott Dibble said. “I thought we were better than we showed. We’re still relatively young and we made a lot of silly, fundamental mistakes. They catch up with you. I told the girls that they’ll never win games if they turn the ball over 25 or more times. I bet we had 35.”

The win was the first for the Lady Saints (1-0) in their first year as a WPIAL varsity program.

“It’s awesome, especially when you talk about the group of young ladies that have dedicated themselves,” Imani coach Ramon’ “Tru” Dixon said. “Our numbers are low. To have seven people and have them play the way they played, you can’t be anything but happy for them.”

Imani advances to today’s 5:30 p.m. championship against Greensburg Central Catholic (1-0), a 56-38 winner over Neshannock. The Lady ’Canes (0-1) battle the Lady Lancers (0-1), at 1:30 p.m.

“They are a good team. They are experienced and Luann (Grybowski) does a great job,” Dibble said. “It’ll be a rivalry game for the kids. We’ll go out and battle them. They don’t have a 6-6 kid, so that’s a plus. We have to be optimistic. We have to learn from this, get better and move on.”

The Lady Saints’ 6-foot-6 senior center Channing James posed a problem for New Castle. While she scored six points, her presence was felt mostly on defense.

“You put a 6-6 kid in the middle, it takes away a lot of the things you like to do. You can’t really get into the paint. Every time we did, she just threw it out of there. There was nowhere to go for us,” Dibble said. “You live and die by the perimeter to a certain degree and we couldn’t make a shot. We got hot late in the third, but then we started losing our minds. I attribute it a little to nerves. They are young and they are excited because it’s their first game. So be it, but we have to get better.”

The Lady ’Canes struggled to get their offense going in the first half against James and Imani. The Lady Saints had troubles, too, as New Castle posted an 8-6 halftime lead.

Jaidyn Eggleston and Jasmine Evans both hit 3-pointers in the third to spark the Lady ’Canes to an 18-15 margin. Abba Frengel hit a trey and another basket and Evans had a hoop to boost the advantage to 25-16 with 5:45 remaining.

However, Imani marched back slowly and New Castle’s inability to hold onto the ball cost the team. The Lady ’Canes had a couple chances to win or tie in the final 30 seconds, but James blocked a shot and New Castle turned the ball over on its other opportunity.

Eggleston led all scorers with 15 points.

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 5 3 10 8 0 26
Imani Christian 2 4 9 12 0 27
Box Scores
Aliyah Smith 0 2-5 2
Moriah Smith 2 2-5 6
Dalezsa Regan 4 1-4 9
Chelsey Ware 1 2-2 4
Channing James 3 0-2 6
Lexus Santiago 0 0-2 0
Totals: 10 7-20 27

Carmie Matarazzo 0 0-1 0
Kayla Harvey 0 0-0 0
Jaidyn Eggleston 4 5-7 15
Jamay Walker 0 1-4 1
Jasmine Evans 2 0-0 5
Abba Frengel 2 0-0 5
Kennedy Hudson 0 0-0 0
Totals: 8 6-12 26

IMANI CHRISTIAN 2 4 9 12 — 27
NEW CASTLE 5 3 10 8 — 26

3-point goals — New Castle 4 (Eggleston 2, Evans 1, Frengel 1).
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