Lady ’Canes win morale booster at Butler
New Castle (57) Vs. Butler (54)
Feb 01, 2008

BUTLER — Last night’s game didn’t matter in the section standings.

As it turned out, though, it had a lot of meaning for the New Castle High girls basketball team.

The Lady ’Canes rallied to knock off WPIAL Section 3-AAAA rival Butler, 57-54, for a hard-fought victory.

Even though the Lady Tornado (11-1 section, 22-2 overall) had the section championship clinched over New Castle (10-2, 17-4) entering the contest, a playoff-like atmosphere was evident in the BHS gym — and on the floor.
“It was a good one,” New Castle coach Luann Grybowski said. “It’s a great win this time of year. It’s right where you want to be and it’s how you want to play.”

The loss snapped Butler’s 21-game winning streak as the team closed its regular season slate. It also prevented the Lady Tornado from capturing an undefeated section crown — something Butler spoiled for New Castle two seasons ago in the last section contest of the 2005-06 season.

“It was two years ago that they did that to New Castle, so we wanted to come down here and pay them back,” said New Castle’s Shelby Rodgers, who bucketed a career-high 25 points on the night. “Going into the playoffs, it’s a big win to keep our confidence up. It’ll be good going into our last two games.”

The Lady ’Canes have two more regular-season games — this afternoon against Altoona and Monday at Canon-McMillan — before they learn their postseason fate.

“This gives the team some momentum and some confidence,” Grybowski said. “We’ll see what happens from there.”

Last night, though, New Castle got a huge boost from Rodgers. The junior guard scored 14 of the team’s 26 points in the first half. She added the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:14 left in the contest and helped ice the win as she stole the ball with four seconds on the clock and swished two free throws.

“You always need somebody to step up. She had a phenomenal game from buzzer to buzzer,” Grybowski said. “She played good defense and didn’t turn the ball over. The one time she was in a trap, she called a timeout.”

New Castle trailed by one, 27-26, heading into halftime. However, the Lady ’Canes were unable to do much in the third and fell behind by 13 points at one juncture before settling on a 10-point deficit at the buzzer.

The team quickly rallied in the fourth and cut Butler’s lead to 46-42 in 1:55. Grybowski instituted the half-court trap and it stifled the Lady Tornado. Butler committed eight turnovers in the frame.

“I think it bothered them. I think it took them out of their comfort zone,” Grybowski said. “We used to have teams where we could play that for long periods of time, but we can’t do that with this group. We have to use it when we need it the most. They stepped up and did a great job.”

New Castle got within a bucket, 52-50, with 2:07 remaining on Nikki Wise’s hoop. Rodgers put the Lady ’Canes ahead for good, 53-52, less than a minute later when Rodgers drained the 3-pointer.

“It was there for the taking, so I took it,” Rodgers said.

Butler came within a point, 55-54, with 13 seconds on the clock. However, following a New Castle turnover, Rodgers intercepted a pass and drew a foul. She swished both freebies for the 57-54 lead. Abby Allen snared the ensuing inbounds pass to seal the win for the Lady ’Canes.

“They are hard to figure out. Sometimes they just jump back and other times, they have to be on the ground with someone stepping on them before they attack,” Grybowski said. “We had a bad first half; we turned the ball over quite a few times and missed a lot of easy shots early on. But, the way they played at the end was great.”

Olivia Bresnahan paced Butler with 19 points.

Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
New Castle 57 0 0 0 0 57
Butler 54 0 0 0 0 54
Box Scores
Field Goals Attempted Foul Shots Made Foul Shots Three Points Total Points Fouls
New Castle
#0 Shelby Rodgers7765250
#44 Nikki Wise5000100
#23 Tasia Wise310060
#11 Abby Allen243070
#22 Logan Hartman441090
#31 Jazelle Dennis000000
Karissa King300280
Cassie Cygan200040
Olivia Bresnahan7850190
Lyndsy Day043030
Erica Miller4221110
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