New Castle rolls past Hopewell
New Castle (82) Vs. Hopewell (46)
Jan 06, 2017
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
New Castle High's boys basketball team showed no signs of a letdown Friday night.
Shots were falling, the defense was intense and there was hustle at both ends of the floor.
It all added up to an 82-46 WPIAL Section 2-4A win for the Red Hurricane over Hopewell.
New Castle (4-0 section, 8-1 overall), which is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class 4A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, maintains its lead in the section by a game over Quaker Valley (3-1, 9-1). The 'Canes own a one-game lead over the Quakers by virtue of a 54-53 home decision.
New Castle was coming off a 17-point road win over Blackhawk (2-2, 4-6) on Tuesday. The 'Canes were 31 of 57 from the field, including 8 of 21 from behind the arc.
"I thought our kids did a great job of playing to the standard of what we expect," said seventh-year 'Canes coach Ralph Blundo. "I thought they did that really well tonight."
"Obviously the most important thing is we're 4-0 (in the section) and in first place. You have some really good teams now that may have two losses. We're a game up on Quaker Valley. We're just worried about us right now."
Senior guard/forward Geno Stone tossed in a game-high 25 points on 8-of-17 shooting for New Castle. He added six rebounds and five steals as well.
"Coach (Blundo) made us focus on playing hard the whole game," Stone said. "We've been starting off slow all the time. He just wanted us to go out there and play as hard as we could."
New Castle forced 28 turnovers, while giving it back just three times. The Vikings (0-4, 3-7) turned the ball over 13 times in the opening frame in falling behind 26-4. They gave it away six more times in the second stanza as New Castle held a 44-19 advantage at the break.
"We did what we needed to do in the first quarter to put the game away," Blundo said. "That's what we wanted to do and we got some younger guys some minutes.
"We thought that they would struggle with our pressure and they did. Our guys did some good things early and made some shots. We executed some things."
Stone scored 13 of his points in the first quarter.
"We wanted to get on them early," Stone said. "It was good to start out strong early."
Marcus Hooker contributed 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting. He added eight steals, six assists and five rebounds as well.
"Marcus is a great athlete," Blundo said. "He plays hard. Great athletes that play hard are going to be effective."
The 'Canes led 70-36 after three quarters. The hosts played 12 players and 10 of them scored.
"When you get opportunities to get guys varsity experience it's key," Blundo said. "Varsity basketball is obviously a different animal.
"It's hard to groom guys throughout the course of the season. Every now and then throughout the course of the season you get opportunities to get guys in the game and to get them some experience and we did that tonight."
New Castle returns to action at 7 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Aliquippa in The Clash High School Basketball Classic.