New Castle routs Ellwood for outright title
New Castle (76) Vs. Ellwood City (56)
Feb 06, 2009
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
The Ne-Ca-Hi Field House can add another banner to the rafters.
The New Castle High boys basketball team claimed the WPIAL Section 2-AAA crown outright last night with a 76-56 decision over Ellwood City Lincoln at the field house.
“You always think of it through the players’ eyes,” said second-year New Castle coach Mark Stanley of the section title. “I’m happy for the kids; they’ve put a lot of work in.
“I told them to enjoy it. It’s what you work for and winning never gets old. It’s a players game.”
The Red Hurricane (10-2 section, 16-5 overall) claimed at least a share of it on Tuesday when Blackhawk dropped a 44-42 verdict to Hopewell. Last night’s victory gave New Castle the title outright, the first since 2002 and 20th in the school’s history.
The victory is the ’Canes’ 12th straight.
“We’re not playing selfish,” Stanley said. “We’re not worried about who is getting the credit and I think that’s why we’re on the streak we’re on.”
The 16 wins are the most for New Castle since the team won 19 in 2004-2005. In fact, the ’Canes won just 18 games the previous two seasons.
The WPIAL will announce the playoff pairings at a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Embassy Suites in Coraopolis.
New Castle eliminated the suspense by racing to a 40-14 halftime advantage. Tyrone Steals propeled the ’Canes to an 18-8 buffer after one by netting eight of his 12 points in the frame.
“We talked about getting a good start and jumping on them,” Stanley said. “I thought we did that really well.
“We played tremendous in one stretch of the second quarter.”
“Their big start was the key,” Wolverines coach Jason Bumblis said. “We weren’t playing bad, but we couldn’t make a shot. We were getting good looks and you have to put the ball in the hoop.”
Freshman Corey Eggleston tallied nine of his 11 markers in the second stanza for the winners.
“Corey is capable of doing that,” Stanley said. “For a freshman, he has really been stepping up.”
Said Eggleston, “We came into this game ready to get it done. This is very special to be part of a section championship team in my first year.”
The Wolverines (2-10, 6-16) didn’t quit as they outscored the ’Canes 24-15 in the third period. Mike Sacco, blanked in the first half, netted nine of his 10 markers in the quarter for Ellwood City.
“Our goal was to win the second half and we did that,” Bumblis said. “I don’t know what that means, but we didn’t embarrass ourselves. I’m proud of our effort.”
The Wolverines got as close as 55-38 in the second half when Anthony Sainato hit a field goal to end the third quarter. Sainato paced the Wolverines with 12 points, all of which came in the second half.
“Anthony started getting it going in the second half; he’s capable of doing that,” Bumblis said.
Ellwood City buried all seven of its 3-pointers in the second half as it attempted to remain in contention.
“We knew they can shoot it,” Stanley said. “They can get hot and cold.
“They live and die by the 3 a lot. I didn’t like all of the open looks they were getting.”
New Castle returns to action at 8 p.m. Monday when it hosts Class AA Freeport in nonsection action. The Lady ’Canes entertain Canon-McMillan at 6:30 p.m. Last night’s game was the season finale for Ellwood City.
“I want to come out of that game (Monday) injury free first, and then hopefully get the win,” Stanley said. “If we win and get an injury or two, that’s when I’ll be sick.”