NEW CASTLE —
Norm Jones said he’s been a season ticket holder since the late 1950s except for two years that he had to leave town for work. “I never thought I’d see a state championship,” he declared. “My oldest son said, ‘Dad, we can die now that we got that state championship.’
“I actually thought I was going to die after that Hershey game. They had to carry me out of that arena with one guy under each arm.”
Dewey Lutz, meanwhile, has been watching New Castle High basketball for about 70 years.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of good games, but never this far. I wondered how long we had to wait.
“I really thought last year we might have a chance, but sometimes it’s who you’re playing against or the way the breaks go. Every team has to have a few breaks here and there to get through. But this is a great team, a well-coached team. That’s a very big part of it.”
Unlike Jones’ oldest son, though, Lutz is not quite ready to cash in his chips over one state crown.
“I’d kind of like to see another one,” he said, “but at my age, I’d have to say they better hurry.”
Marie Lutton is another longtime ’Canes supporter. She and her family have been following the team for nearly 40 years, and she was in Hershey in 1982 when New Castle dropped the state championship game to Whitehall.
“It was great,” she said of this year’s long-awaited PIAA title, “but it was nerve-wracking. It got tougher as it went along, but it was great.
“I actually thought that last year it was going to happen. This year was kind of a surprise, but I’m glad because we waited so long for it. These kids were fantastic.”