New Castle topples Perry Traditional
New Castle (66) Vs. Perry Traditional (56)
Dec 05, 2014
By Joe Sager
New Castle News
New Castle High’s boys basketball team is a work in progress.
With its top six players graduated from last year’s undefeated WPIAL and PIAA Class AAAA championship squad, the Red Hurricane began the year with a new lineup. The squad passed its first test last night with a 66-56 win over Perry Traditional Academy at the New Castle Tipoff Classic.
“I thought Perry played well. We played well in spurts. I think that’s probably going to be the case until that margin gets a little tighter as the year goes on and we can decrease the number of controllable errors that we make,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “You put six or seven guys out on the floor that really haven’t spent a lot of time out there — we’ll take the victory. I will certainly take the effort. I was proud of them. I thought they played hard and they did things the right way. We just had some opportunities that we let go.
“I really enjoy coaching these guys, I do. They listen and they try to do exactly what I tell them to do. It won’t always happen, but we’ll get back to work.”
New Castle (1-0) returns to action at 7:30 p.m. today in the championship game against West Middlesex (1-0), a 62-38 winner over St. Mary’s (Md.).
“We just have to keep working and keep digging, know where our spots are and be mentally tough,” said New Castle’s Marquel Hooker, who led all scorers with 18 points.
On a night when the ’Canes honored their 1964 Section 3 championships squad in a pregame ceremony, New Castle, which has won 88 of its last 90 games, took the first step toward building a section contender as well.
“They are trying. They did some good things,” Blundo said. “We got 15 more possessions than Perry. They are a bigger team and we outrebounded them by four and we were able to turn them over 11 more times than we turned it over. Really, the difference in the game was our ability to heat up in the second half.”
The ’Canes, who extended their home winning streak to 36 and regular-season winning streak to 69, led for all but one possession. They had a 15-10 advantage after the first and a 33-28 edge at halftime.
The Commodores (0-1) pulled ahead, 41-40, momentarily with 2:02 left in the third quarter, but New Castle closed the frame with a 9-3 run and a 49-44 lead.
Shaiyre Howard’s bucket brought Perry within 49-46 seconds into the fourth, but the ’Canes heated up from long distance and gained separation with a 12-0 run. Geno Stone and Hooker both swished a pair of 3-balls in that outburst, which improved the cushion to 61-46.
“Coach just tells us to be where the ball is, follow the ball and be open,” Hooker said. “That’s what we did. We were open.”
Stone finished with 11 points off the bench, while Marcus Hooker, Marquel’s brother, had 10 points off the bench. Robert Natale added nine points.
The ’Canes went 11 for 11 from the charity stripe to help their cause.
“Going 11 for 11 from the free-throw line is something to be proud of, without question,” Blundo said. “That means that their focus is good. They work hard on it in practice.”
Cordell Jackson paced the Commodores with 16 points. Markel Sayles added 14 points.