New Castle cruises past Central Valley
New Castle (63) Vs. Central Valley (39)
Jan 20, 2017
By Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
Defense set the tone early for the New Castle High boys basketball team Friday night.
The Red Hurricane forced nine Central Valley turnovers in the first quarter in building an 11-point lead. The Warriors' miscues paved the way for a 63-39 WPIAL Section 2-4A New Castle victory.
The 'Canes (8-0 section, 13-1 overall) forced three turnovers to open the game and took a 4-0 lead off those mistakes. The Warriors (4-4, 9-6) didn't get a shot off in those brief possessions. Central Valley finished with 22 turnovers.
"The defense was what I was looking for," New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. "I would have liked a little bit more of a sustained effort. I was pleased we're getting to where I want to be defensively.
"That was something that we talked about that I didn't think we brought enough really good pressure against Beaver Falls (on Tuesday). I thought we did tonight. I thought we brought more traps and more pressure. I didn't think they could hurt us as bad on the back end as I did the first time we played them."
The 'Canes, who are ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class 4A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, fed off their early defense, building a 13-2 lead after one period. The Warriors never got closer the rest of the way.
"It was probably our best defensive quarter of the year," Blundo said.
Junior forward Marcus Hooker helped get New Castle going early on both ends. He scored 11 of his game-high 16 points in the first half as the 'Canes built a 31-15 halftime advantage.
Hooker handed out five assists with eight rebounds — four on each end. He was 7 of 16 from the field.
"I just went out there to play hard and stay focused," Hooker said. "Defensively, I wanted to keep my guy in front of me.
"I feel like we worked a little harder than we did on Tuesday. I thought we picked up our play, made great passes and we stopped our turnovers."
Geno Stone notched 13 points for the 'Canes. He led the team with 11 assists and nine rebounds. Te'Quawn Stewart tossed in 11 markers.
Stewart, who broke his nose two games ago at Beaver, started the first half wearing a protective face guard. But he removed it for the second half.
"The mask wasn't fitted for him yet," Blundo said of why he didn't wear it Tuesday against Beaver Falls. "He wore it tonight and he struggled with it. We'll see how he does. It's a vision thing. It really hurts your peripheral vision."
Parker Hudson and Tyler Walker tossed in 15 points apiece to lead Central Valley.
New Castle returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Taylor Allderdice. The game was rescheduled from the Dec. 17 Hoops for a Cure Shootout at Geneva College.
The Dragons (9-4) handed the 'Canes their lone regular season loss last year, 75-49, at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House. Allderdice lost in the PIAA Class AAAA championship game to Philadelphia Roman Catholic.
"We've waited close to a year to play them and we're looking forward to doing that," Blundo said. "I think they are looking forward to the challenge."