Stone propels New Castle boys to win over Blackhaw
New Castle (68) Vs. Blackhawk (42)
Jan 22, 2016
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
BEAVER FALLS — New Castle High boys basketball coach Ralph Blundo wasn't completely satisfied with his team's performance Friday night.
And that was moments after a win of nearly 30 points.
Geno Stone led three Red Hurricane players in double figures with 22 points in a 68-42 WPIAL Section 2-AAA road win over Blackhawk.
New Castle (10-0 section, 17-0 overall), which is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and No. 4 in the state by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, trailed just once at 2-0. But the visitors were outrebounded 26-18 by the Cougars (4-6, 7-9).
"I think the name of the game is to win. Obviously we did that tonight," Blundo said. "I don't think we played particularly well. Marquel (Hooker) and Marcus (Hooker) didn't have their best games. That's going to happen sometimes.
"That's what really good teams do. I thought other guys stepped up. Certainly Gino DeMonaco and Geno Stone shot the ball really well.
Stone was 6 of 13 from the floor with four rebounds and three assists.
"Geno can do that. He's done it plenty of times for us," Blundo said. "He's a good shooter and he really shot it well tonight."
All six of Stone's field goals were 3-pointers, which represented a season high for the 5-foot-11 junior guard.
"I just felt good about hitting all my shots because the past couple of games my 3s haven't been falling," Stone said. "I was happy they were going in.
"After I made the first one and I hit the second one, I knew I was on after that."
The 'Canes' defense forced 12 first-half turnovers, six in each quarter. New Castle led 18-6 after the first period and 33-20 at the half. Blackhawk finished with 21 total turnovers, while New Castle had just three.
Foul trouble forced New Castle to slow the pace down in the third quarter. DeMonaco and Marcus Hooker both had three fouls. Marcus Hooker finished the game with four fouls.
The 'Canes, leading 36-24 after a Blackhawk bucket, stalled their offense for about three minutes. Micah Fulena stood out by half court and the Cougars just stood around allowing New Castle to burn those three minutes off the clock.
"We had a 12-point lead and I'm in foul trouble," Blundo said of the situation. "I just wanted to kill some time, get us into a position where our foul trouble wasn't as significant based on the time of the game.
"I was a bit surprised they let us do that as long as we did, but that's OK. For us, it was the right thing do."
Despite the slowdown, the 'Canes still almost hit their average of just under 75 points a game.
DeMonaco started in place of Pat Minenok, who was home with the flu. DeMonaco and Marcus Hooker delivered 14 points apiece. Marquel Hooker, the team's leading scorer, was limited to nine markers.
New Castle returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when it travels to section foe Hopewell. Marquel Hooker poured in 45 points in the previous matchup, tying the school record and setting the school mark for field goals made in a game (18).