Lady ’Canes edge Butler
New Castle (58) Vs. Butler (52)
Dec 24, 2009
The New Castle High girls basketball team almost let one get away last night.
The Lady ’Canes squandered an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter before pulling out a 58-52 verdict over Butler in a nonsection battle at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House. The teams were longtime rivals in WPIAL Section 3-AAAA action.
New Castle, the defending WPIAL Class AAA champion, led 47-36 before the Lady Tornado used a 12-0 run to take a one-point lead late in the game.
“It was good and bad,” said first-year Lady ’Canes coach Jason Rankin of the game. “I was disappointed that we had to play more zone than I wanted to; we were in foul trouble and that hurt us.
“We made some bad moves defensively and we didn’t move our feet. But I was happy with how we battled. I give Butler credit, they didn’t pack it in.”
New Castle (5-0) is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while Butler (2-5) is No. 3 in Class AAAA after a grueling schedule early on.
“It’s a good win for us because one of (Butler’s) calling cards has been playing hard over the years,” Rankin said. “They don’t lose games, you have to beat them.
“For our kids to battle back against a team that starts five seniors is tremendous. But in no way, shape or form am I going to be happy about blowing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter.”
Kaylynn Waters paced New Castle with 19 points, 10 of which coming in the fourth quarter. She also netted eight of her points in that frame at the foul line.
LaShauna Brothers was next for the winners with 14 points and seven rebounds, while JaNia McPhatter added 13 markers and seven boards.
New Castle was forced to play without Brothers during a critical stretch of the second half. She picked up her fourth foul with 5:30 to go in the third period and came out for nearly an entire quarter.
“That was tough on us,” Rankin said of Brothers’ foul trouble. “It forced us to play a different style and Butler battled back.”
Christina Talbert notched eight points, six assists and three steals for the Lady ’Canes. Talbert had a key steal with 16 seconds left and New Castle nursing a 53-52 lead. She found Brothers after the steal for an easy basket and a 55-52 buffer with 14 seconds to go.
“Waters and Talbert both played well,” Rankin said. “They have some maturing to do and that’s natural; I love their upside.”
Casie Cygan failed on a three-pointer at the other end and the Lady ’Canes were able to sew up the win.
Olivia Bresnahan, a Florida State University recruit, registered a team-high 16 markers for the Lady Tornado. Seven of Bresnahan’s markers came in the second quarter and she attempted eight of her 13 foul shots in the stanza.
“She comes at you in so many different ways,” Rankin said of Bresnahan. “She kept them in it in the second quarter, getting to the basket and finding ways to score.”
Bresnahan contributed to Butler’s comeback in the fourth quarter.
“She’s probably the best player in the western part of the state,” Rankin said. “She either scored or initiated the scoring in the fourth quarter.”
Butler committed 25 turnovers, compared to 19 for the hosts. The Lady ’Canes were 19 of 43 from the field and the Lady Tornado knocked down 18 shots in 51 attempts.