New Castle boys get off to great start
Farrell (44) Vs. New Castle (63)
Dec 10, 2010
By JOE SAGER
The Ralph Blundo Era at New Castle began last night with a win.
And, it had the veteran Red Hurricane coach’s stamp all over it.
Blundo’s troops used a solid, aggressive defense to smother Farrell, 63-44, in the New Castle Tipoff Tournament.
“That’s our style. We want to play uptempo. We think we can create easy baskets off of our defense. We were able to do that at times,” said Blundo, in his first year as New Castle’s head coach. “We were awfully aggressive. Fortunately, we have enough depth that, if guys get in foul trouble, other guys can come in. I think our sixth, seventh and eighth guys played as much as our starters did. I was just proud of the overall team effort.”
The ’Canes (1-0) trotted out a young lineup — with three juniors and two sophomores — and four other underclassmen the first off the bench.
“It was a nice win. I knew that we would play hard. They looked like young kids out there and they are,” Blundo said. “We’ve played well all fall and we played pretty well in the summer. I didn’t know how young kids like that were going to react in a venue like ours. I was proud. We were a little nervous early, but that’s out of our way now.”
Junior Corey Eggleston, who bucketed a game-high 24 points, was happy to get Blundo’s first win at New Castle out of the way. He went 26-2 in one season (1998-99) as George Junior Republic’s head coach before returning to the ’Canes as an assistant before leaving for Westminster College as an assistant.
“It was a good win. Even though we’re a young team, we came out and played hard because we know that’s what Coach Blundo wanted us to do and he knew what we were capable of,” Eggleston said.
New Castle’s offense struggled at first, but its defense was strong throughout the contest. The ’Canes posted a 17-9 lead after the first quarter and went up, 31-18, at halftime as Eggleston scored eight of his points in the second. The hosts carried a 47-32 lead into the fourth and cruised to the triumph.
The Steelers (0-1) were without three starters and three other players because of the football team’s drive to the WPIAL Class AA semifinals.
“The group that we have out there is young. But, I can’t accept that as an excuse. We’ve been practicing the same thing,” Farrell coach Roland Shannonhouse said. “We were out of character. The things we were doing, I have never seen before. I was a little surprised by that. I thought we could have had a little more discipline and been a little better defensively on the ball. I can’t complain too much because, in the long run, this experience is only going to help us.”
Shannonhouse was impressed with New Castle’s effort.
“Coach Blundo and I are good friends, but the discipline those guys had was unbelievable to me,” he said. “Those guys came down and did what they needed to do to win the game. I was actually sitting there telling my guys, ‘Wow, now that’s discipline.’ They weren’t rushing; they didn’t panic. They looked like a well-coached team.”
The ’Canes take on Perry Traditional Academy, a 72-66 winner over Beaver Falls, at 7:30 p.m. today in the championship game. Farrell plays Beaver Falls at 3:30 p.m.
“They are fantastic. We played them this summer and it was actually one of the first games we played together. We played them tough, but summer is a different thing. That is a state championship-caliber basketball team,” Blundo said. “My guys are just confident enough to believe they can win and I do, too. We’ll have to play extremely well and hard and probably a little smarter. I think that’ll happen. We’ll be ready.”