New Castle remains unbeaten
New Castle (57) Vs. Lincoln Park (52)
Dec 12, 2015
The New Castle High boys basketball team found a way to get a victory Saturday night.
The Red Hurricane battled Lincoln Park for four quarters and made enough foul shots down the stretch to seal a 57-52 nonsection win at
Geneva College. The game was the fifth and final matchup of the Geneva College Classic Tournament.
New Castle (5-0), which is ranked No. 3 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, knocked down six straight freebies in the final moments to ice the win.
"I think Lincoln Park is an excellent basketball team," 'Canes coach Ralph Blundo said. "They're really loaded with talent.
"We fought really hard to get the win. The effort was good, but the result was better. We made our foul shots down the stretch and that was big."
Lincoln Park (3-1), which is ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL in Class AA by the Post-Gazette, opened the game on a 10-2 run. The Leopards held a 28-24 lead in the third quarter as well before the 'Canes rallied.
It was the first time New Castle trailed in a game since the midway part of the third quarter in the opening game against Perry Traditional Academy.
"I thought it was two teams playing really hard," Blundo said of Saturday's matchup with Lincoln Park. "Our guys kept doing what they do. That's what I'm most pleased with.
"There are ups and downs in every basketball game. But our guys stayed the course and kept battling the whole way."
Marquel Hooker, averaging a team-high 23.7 points a game coming in, was held to just seven points for New Castle. Hooker picked up his third foul in the second quarter.
"Marquel never really got going offensively," Blundo said. "The early fouls altered his aggressiveness; those are things that will happen.
"He's got to alter his game a bit when he's in foul trouble."
Micah Fulena led the 'Canes with 18 points and three steals. Marcus Hooker, Marquel's younger brother, chipped in with 17 markers and seven rebounds. He shared team-high honors in boards with Gene Stone, who also tallied nine points.
"Marcus played a really sound game," Blundo said. "Micah was excellent all night against their pressure. They pressured all night.
"Micah finished in the lane. He shot it well. He made free throws. He just played an excellent floor game."
New Castle was 19 of 50 from the floor, including 7 of 25 from behind the arc. The Leopards were 19 of 51 from the field. New Castle also knocked down 12 foul shots in 17 attempts.
Nick Aloi, a former Ellwood City Lincoln standout, rifled in a team-best 17 points for Lincoln Park.
"This was a good test for us," Blundo said. "We try to schedule a quality nonconference schedule. It can only help us, and we handled the atmosphere really well, too."
The 'Canes (1-0 section) return to action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to Central Valley (0-1, 2-3) for a WPIAL Section 2-AAA matchup.
"We're looking forward to it. It's a good rivalry," Blundo said. "We've played some really tight games with them in the past."