Stanley’s homecoming a success
New Castle (60) Vs. Ellwood City (53)
Jan 13, 2009
By JOE SAGER
Mark Stanley is a big fan of the Ellwood City Lincoln High boys basketball program.
The former assistant coach for the Wolverines has taught mathematics at the high school for 19 years.
Last night, he had to put all that aside. While Stanley spends his days at Ellwood City, his nights are devoted to coaching New Castle.
“It’s tough for me to come here,” said Stanley, who guided his Red Hurricane to a 60-53 road victory in WPIAL Section 3-AAA contest. “The kids are tremendous and I have a lot of respect for them and they way they played.
“I want them to win every game. I told my son at home that I wanted to win, but I wanted them to play hard and they absolutely did that,” Stanley said. “It’s a sick feeling walking into this gym like I am a stranger. [Today], I will be the biggest Ellwood fan again.”
The Wolverines (0-6 section, 3-10 overall) nearly made that feeling worse for Stanley. Down by 10 late in the second quarter, they sliced the deficit to five points, 30-25, at halftime. The Wolverines trailed by only 41-38 after three quarters.
In the final stanza, Ellwood City surged ahead when Chris Weisz drained a 3-pointer and Chaz Roth added a bucket from the paint to give the Wolverines a 43-41 edge at the 7:05 mark. The teams traded baskets before New Castle (4-2, 9-5) regained control.
Tyrone Steals swished a pair of free throws and freshman Corey Eggleston buried a trey for a 48-45 advantage. Rodney Parchman swatted an Ellwood City shot and followed with his own basket for a seven-point swing and a 50-45 lead with 3:36 to go.
The Wolverines made one more run, cutting the deficit to 54-53 with 2:06 left before Steals took over. He tallied a pair of buckets to put the game out of reach. The senior guard finished with a game-high 27 points.
“Before the game, Coach Stanley told me I had to step up and rebound and crash the offensive boards and do all I can for the team. I was just trying to get the team sparked up,” he said. “Corey hit a big shot and everybody just started coming together.”
The Wolverines hurt themselves by failing to convert on four straight free throws between those final two Steals baskets. They finished the night a dismal 5 of 16 from the charity stripe. New Castle was good on 9 of 16 free throws.
“They deserved to win as much, if not more, than us. They played gutsy and did what they had to do. They pulled out in front, but we came back,” Stanley said. “Coach (Jason) Bumblis has those kids playing hard, but he can’t make free throws for them. You have to knock them down. The same thing on our side — you knock them down and it’s going to decide games.”
New Castle extended its winning streak to five games.
“It’s a good win and we’re thankful we escaped with it,” Steals said. “It feels real good, especially since our coach teaches there. We can’t have his students come up and talk about losing to them.”
It was another heartbreaker for the Wolverines, who have lost their last 10 games. But three of their section defeats have been by seven points or less to Ambridge, Center and New Castle.
“When we talk about climbing the mountain, I keep telling the guys we’re right there, but if we relax, we’re going to fall,” Bumblis said. “It’s going to take a monumental effort just to get us over. Once that happens, the wins will come in bunches. We’re playing well, but we just have to learn to win.”
Roth led the Wolverines with 16 points. Parchman added 12 for New Castle and Eggleston had 10.