Domenick lifts ’Canes to victory
New Castle (74) Vs. Blackhawk (58)
Jan 15, 2011
By RON PONIEWASZ JR.
New Castle High’s Brandon Domenick was sizzling in the first quarter last night.
By halftime, Domenick’s damage was done.
Domenick registered 19 of his career-high 22 points in the first half to lift the Red Hurricane to a 74-58 WPIAL Section 2-AAA boys basketball victory over Blackhawk at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.
“It was a fantastic performance from Brandon,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “That’s called being ready to play. He works hard and is a tireless worker. Anytime he plays well, he earns it with all the time he puts in day after day.”
Blackhawk came in ranked No. 4 in the WPIAL in Class AAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Domenick, a sophomore, was 4 for 4 from behind the arc in the opening quarter to propel New Castle (4-1 section, 8-4 overall) to a 12-2 lead.
He added seven more markers in the second quarter for a 43-27 halftime advantage.
“I was just feeling it,” Domenick said. “My teammates got me the ball when I wanted it when I was open.
“After that first and second shot went down, I knew it was going to be a big night. In the second half, they were running a triangle-and-two on me and Corey (Eggleston). I just tried to play smart and Corey really came through and had a big night, too.”
Domenick was 8 of 11 from the floor, including 6 of 9 from behind the arc. He also handed out seven assists.
New Castle, which never trailed, owned a 22-13 margin after the first period. The Cougars (3-1, 7-5) got as close as 26-22 with 5:42 remaining in the half before the ’Canes pulled away for good.
“That was the ballgame,” Blackhawk coach Andy Hedrick said of the ’Canes’ strong start. “We tried to play a zone that matched up to Domenick, but we made some mistakes in finding him.”
Eggleston paced the ’Canes with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while dishing out a team-high eight assists and grabbing five rebounds.
Eggleston played strong defense on Blackhawk’s top player Cory Ostach, who netted a team-high 18 points, but all of them came in the second half when the game was out of reach.
“Corey has had big games with a lot of points, but by far, this is the best all-around basketball game Corey has played this year,” Blundo said. “Corey is a fantastic athlete. When you combine great athleticism with great determination and great focus, he’s more than capable of doing the job that he did on a guy like Ostach.”
The closest the Cougars got in the second half was 13 points on two occasions in the third quarter (43-30 and 47-34). The ’Canes took their largest lead at 69-45 with 5:21 remaining.
New Castle was 30 of 52 from the field, including 11 of 20 from three-point range. Anthony Richards tallied nine points for the winners, all of which coming on 3-pointers.
“We’re certainly not a post team,” Blundo said. “We gear our offense around our perimeter guys.
“I like to give them opportunities with the dribble and create opportunities from 3. It’s the strength of our team, there’s no question.”
The ’Canes share the section lead with Central Valley (4-1, 6-4), while the Cougars are a half-game back. New Castle dropped a 72-51 verdict to Central Valley on Jan. 7 on the ’Canes’ home floor.
“We know that (Blackhawk) is one of the teams to beat in our league,” Blundo said. “For us, we just want to prepare for each game, one practice at a time.”
Said Hedrick, “I don’t know who is going to win the section, but more importantly who is going to make the playoffs. There are going to be two teams not making the playoffs that would make it easily from other sections.”
New Castle returns to action at 8 p.m. today when it hosts Sharon. The ’Canes travel to Ambridge (0-5, 0-13) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to close out the first half of league play.