New Castle topples Beaver
New Castle (60) Vs. Beaver (38)
Jan 30, 2010
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
There is still a pulse for the New Castle High boys basketball team.
The Red Hurricane defense put the clamps down on Beaver last night in a 60-38 WPIAL Section 2-AAA victory.
New Castle (3-6 section, 4-13 overall) remains in fifth place, one game behind Ambridge (4-5, 9-7) for the final playoff spot. The Bridgers swept the season series.
The ’Canes got some much-needed help last night from Ellwood City Lincoln in a 46-40 win over Ambridge.
“We’re not dead yet,” New Castle coach Mark Stanley said. “I don’t think any of these guys have quit. I think they are still working hard, and they are still coachable.
“They haven’t pouted or felt sorry for themselves. The way this year has gone, who knows?”
The Wolverines’ win also breathes life back into their playoffs hopes as well. Ellwood City (2-6, 5-11) is in sixth place in the section, owning a pivotal split with Ambridge as well.
Four of New Castle’s section losses came by 10 points or less, including a pair by two points. Included in that was a 64-57 setback at Ambridge on Tuesday.
“We lost a couple of games that we should have won,” said ’Canes senior guard Marquale May. “We have been playing better, and we’ve been practicing better.
“This is a tough position to be in. We have to go into every game like it’s a playoff game.”
New Castle started strong in the first quarter, opening a 14-9 buffer before the Bobcats (0-9, 2-15) rallied for a 17-16 margin after one stanza.
Beaver opened its largest lead of the game at 21-16 just 1:53 into the second period.
“I thought we got off to a good start and then they slowed us down a little bit,” Stanley said. “Once you slow us down, it’s to our disadvantage.
“We were giving up some easy layups, so we got out of our press and we went to a three-quarters man. That really helped us out. We were able to dig in, and we didn’t give them any easy looks.”
Jajuan Jay drained a field goal with 5:17 left in the half to give New Castle the lead for good at 22-21. Zach Snowden sank a bucket with 2:38 to go in the half for Beaver to cut it to 24-23.
The ’Canes then held the Bobcats scoreless for 6:17, utilizing a 13-0 run for a 37-24 margin in the third quarter.
“Our full-court defense was lousy, we were giving them easy looks,” Stanley said. “When we got into the half-court set we were able to pick it up. We were able to locate our man and get some tips and easy baskets.”
May led all scorers with 20 points, 13 of which came in the first half.
“Coach just has us in the gym every day, shooting and practicing,” May said. “My shots have been falling. It feels like it’s going in every time I put it up.”
May was coming off a career-high 31-point effort Tuesday against Ambridge.
“Marquale is playing well, and he’s shooting it very well, too,” Stanley said. “He’s confident, and he’s feeling it. When he gets a look I’m confident it’s going down.”
Beaver managed just three third-quarter points against the stingy ’Canes.
“We were saying at halftime that this is where we’ve been losing games,” Stanley said. “We don’t extend the lead. We came out a little sloppy; we weren’t getting after them.
“I thought they missed some looks and it may have been a little different if they had knocked them down. After they missed those, our defense picked it up a little bit and we got some separation.”
Corey Eggleston backed up May’s performance with 15 points for the ’Canes and Jay followed with 10.
Will Hazlett netted a team-best 10 points for the Bobcats.
New Castle returns to action at 8 p.m. Tuesday when it travels to section rival Blackhawk (6-2, 10-6). The Cougars won the first encounter, 52-50.
“Blackhawk is Blackhawk; they are always solid,” Stanley said. “We had that one at our place right where wanted it, and they came back and beat us late.
“They have some size and we don’t have much size. I think our guys are confident. We’ll go in and attack it and see if we can get one on the road.”