New Castle rallies to knock off Hopewell
New Castle (71) Vs. Hopewell (69)
Jan 16, 2009
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
ALIQUIPPA — The New Castle High boys basketball team proved its toughness last night.
The Red Hurricane trailed most of the game before rallying to knock off Hopewell 71-69 in a WPIAL Section 2-AAA contest.
“This is a good road win,” New Castle coach Mark Stanley said. “Any time you win on the road in this league it’s a plus.
“I felt pretty good (at halftime) because we played well and I thought our pressure could get them in the third quarter, which it did.”
New Castle (5-2 section, 10-5 overall), winners of six in a row, takes control of its playoff hopes with the victory. The ’Canes are a half-game behind section leader Blackhawk (5-1, 9-4) and tied for second with Ambridge (5-2, 7-8).
New Castle will meet the Bridgers at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House. Ambridge claimed a 57-51 decision at home earlier in the season.
“With the separation, with us getting five wins, if you look at the scenarios we’re pretty close to getting in,” Stanley said. “We want to try and win a section title still; to win a section title we needed this win and we were able to get it.”
The ’Canes trailed 38-26 with 16.1 seconds to play in the first half before settling for a 38-28 deficit at the break. They trailed the entire first half with the exception of one lead (3-2) and a tie at 11 in the first quarter.
Despite trailing at the break, Stanley didn’t feel the need to make any halftime adjustments.
“Coach just told us to play our butts off in the second half and that’s what we did,” New Castle’s Nick Klein said.
New Castle opened the second half strong, going on a 12-2 run to knot the contest at 40 with 3:47 to play in the third stanza. Klein heated up the rally for the ’Canes, burying a trio of 3-pointers in the period, including trifectas on consecutive possessions to narrow the deficit to 40-38 with 5:11 to go in the third.
“Nick’s our shooter,” Stanley said. “He started off slow, but so did everyone else. When he gets rolling, I don’t think there’s a better shooter in the league because he can bury them.”
Said Klein, “They were in a zone and we were just passing it around and every time it came over to me I was knocking it down.”
Tyrone Steals, who was scoreless in the first half, tied the game at 40 with 3:47 remaining. However, he failed to convert the 3-point play and the ’Canes had three straight possessions result in no points when they were trying to take the lead.
“I got after Ty at halftime,” Stanley said. “That’s the best half of basketball Ty has played all year.”
The Vikings (2-5, 5-9) secured a 48-43 lead after three periods. Rodney Parchman’s turnaround in the lane forged a tie for New Castle at 49 with 4:28 to play in regulation.
Stanley called his final timeout with 1:30 to go in regulation with a 57-54 advantage. Corey Eggleston had a chance to give the ’Canes control, but he failed on a field goal attempt in the lane with 1:20 to go.
Rushel Shell converted a 3-point play with 1:15 left for a tie at 57. Tonio Fulena turned the ball over with 44 seconds left. After a jump ball with 2.9 seconds left, Shell’s last-second 3-pointer at the buzzer hit the back of the rim to send the teams to an extra session.
“Sometimes when you have those opportunities (missed layup) on the road, you don’t get them back,” Stanley said. “The 3 at the end of the fourth quarter ... whew. That was there; we were lucky to get it into overtime.”
Parchman got the ’Canes going in the extra period, scoring five of his 14 markers in the frame. Trailing 62-59, Parchman ignited an 8-0 run to give New Castle a commanding 67-62 lead with 1:10 to play. He scored four of his points during the spree, including a steal that resulted in a layup for Steals.
Fulena iced the game with two foul shots with five seconds remaining for a 71-67 advantage.
“I made a stupid mistake at the end of regulation and coach Stanley told me about it,” Fulena said. “I knew I had to make (those foul shots) at the end of the game to make up for it.”
Klein led the winners with 16 points and Steals was next with 14 points, four steals and three assists. Fulena contributed 10 points, while Parchman pulled down a team-best seven rebounds.
“We all came together and we tell each other that if we want this that we have to play together as a team,” said Fulena of the team’s recent run.
Hopewell’s Drew Falletta paced all scorers with 22 points before fouling out with 17.9 seconds to go in overtime.