Historic night for New Castle senior standout
New Castle (94) Vs. Hopewell (43)
Dec 22, 2015
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
It was a team win.
But the night belonged to New Castle High boys basketball standout Marquel Hooker.
Hooker, a 5-foot-10 senior guard, tied the school's all-time scoring record by burying 45 points in a 94-43 Red Hurricane victory over Hopewell in a WPIAL Section 2-AAA tilt at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House on Tuesday.
David Young set the original scoring mark of 45 markers on Feb. 15, 1999. Hooker did break Young's previous mark of 17 field goals, as he drained 18 field goals Tuesday.
Hooker scored 12 points in the first quarter and went into the half with 23 tallies as the 'Canes (4-0 section, 9-0 overall) held a 51-25 advantage. The sharpshooter tossed in four markers in the third period before finishing with 18 more in the final frame.
Hooker's previous career high was 30 points last season against Beaver.
"He was amazing tonight," New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said of Hooker's performance. "From a coach's perspective, it was fun to watch. Before you know it, your assistant coaches are telling you that he's closer to the school record and you're in a blowout.
"There's a fine line there as a coach to make a decision. You want to give a kid an opportunity to catch that record. But at the same time, we're not interested in humiliating teams either. For me, it was a very conflicting situation. I've never been in that situation before. So it was really a conflicting situation for me. I think at the end of the day, I just had to give Marquel an opportunity. There's no ill-intention from us toward Hopewell."
Hooker was 18 of 25 from the floor, including 5 of 11 from behind the arc. He added 11 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals.
"I just came out and played hard like coach wanted me to," Hooker said. "When my coach kept leaving me in I knew that something was going on and he wanted me to get the record."
Hooker took a modest approach when asked about the extra playing time and the shot at history.
"I wanted to give my other teammates a chance. But I'm cool with it," he said of the chance at the record. "It feels good to equal Young's record. He was a great player here."
Blundo was pleased with Hooker's overall game, not just with the 45 markers he put on the board.
"He just played with great energy and he scored just about every way you could," Blundo said. "He made five 3s, he made free throws, he finished in transition.
"(The rebounds, steals and assists) are probably lost in that scoring statistic."
The 'Canes broke free of a 10-10 tie and captured a 28-14 lead after one stanza. They never looked back.
"We were able to turn them over and finish on the other end," Blundo said. "Then we made a couple of shots and that got us going."
Marcus Hooker, Marquel's younger brother, chipped in with 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
Griffin Curry collected a team-high 16 points for the Vikings (0-3, 0-5).
New Castle is off until 7:30 p.m. Monday when Valley (1-7) invades the Field House for the first round of the New Castle Holiday Tournament.
"We'll enjoy the success we had and give these kids a couple of days off to recharge for the stretch run," Blundo said of the upcoming break.