NEW CASTLE —
A section title.
A WPIAL championship.
Not to mention a 27-game winning streak, tied for the program mark with the 2001-02 team.
Corey Eggleston surpassed the 1,000-point plateau for his standout career. Shawn Anderson is on the verge of the feat and will reach that milestone sometime early next season.
The New Castle High boys basketball team dominated teams throughout the season, constantly running teams off the floor. Few opponents gave the Red Hurricane a battle.
New Castle outscored the opposition by a staggering 79.1-52.4 advantage. Nobody could keep up with the ’Canes. It was no contest, most of the time, and out of reach by the start of the fourth quarter.
There’s not too much New Castle didn’t accomplish this year. The only things left to accomplish were owning the school record outright for consecutive wins, finishing 31-0 and winning the school’s first state championship.
The last time a WPIAL team went through the entire season unbeaten, capturing a PIAA crown along the way, was Sto-Rox in 1983. It’s been quite a while since it was done, and it proves how difficult what New Castle was attempting to do is.
Regardless, the accomplishments, victories and hardware collected along the way are proof this ’Canes team certainly made its mark. From the coaching staff on down to the players, everybody had a hand in the success the team achieved.
Montour dashed the ’Canes’ dream of a state championship on Tuesday, with a heartbreaking 50-43 overtime loss at Duquesne University’s A.J. Palumbo Center. The Spartans are a tempo-oriented team just like New Castle, only they like to dictate a slower pace. The ’Canes were almost able to conquer it like they did against Hampton in the WPIAL championship game.
But there’s no shame in losing. New Castle didn’t lose to a ragtag bunch. The Spartans are quite a formidable foe. Will Montour go on to reach the state championship game? Time will tell. Getting past undefeated General McLane won’t be easy.
In fact, it wouldn’t have been a picnic for the ’Canes, either. But it’s a game I would have enjoyed watching, along with many others. To be the best, you have to beat the best.
Losing will hurt. It always does. The 2011-12 version of the ’Canes was a special group, and soon they can sit back and reflect and take pride at what they accomplished.
New Castle graduates just two players — Eggleston and reserve Jermaine Cuffie — while moving up to quad-A next year. The ’Canes are going from arguably the best triple-A section in the WPIAL to the best quad-A section in the district, and perhaps regardless of classification. There will be good basketball teams next year that will be left out of the postseason. That’s how good that section is.
New Castle will be back. You can count on that. The ’Canes will continue to battle like they did all season. But for now, it’s time for the team to hold their heads high and be proud of all the special things they accomplished.
It was a journey none of them will forget.
(Ron Poniewasz Jr., better known as the Doctor of Style, is a sports writer and web personality at The News.)
NEW CASTLE —
A section title.
- New Castle
Straw vote favors new band uniforms
The New Castle High School marching band will be getting new uniforms this year. At its public work session Monday, the board indicated it favors the band getting new uniforms.
Extending school hours could make up for snow days
The New Castle Area School District is considering extending this year’s remaining school days by 20 minutes. That is a possibility being considered to make up required instructional time lost by snow days the district had to take this year.
Larry Kelly: Different script, same ending to movie for 'Canes
“You were built for this moment.” Those were the words of New Castle High basketball coach Ralph Blundo as his team was ready to take the floor against Hampton for the WPIAL Class AAAA title at the A.J. Palumbo Center on the campus of Duquesne University on Saturday night.
Clutch coach: Intense practices, focus on film and lessons learned from local legends all help Blundo mold ’Canes into a history-making program
It all starts at the top. Like any quality organization, a foundation of success is built through strong leadership. That’s evident with the New Castle High boys basketball program.
New Castle Schools: Leave with pay was superintendent’s call
When a New Castle school district employee is placed on administrative leave, it typically is the superintendent’s decision. District solicitor Charles Sapienza said in an email last week that the district has no policy governing when and why an employee is placed on administrative leave or whether he or she should be paid during that leave.
Grade-schoolers to compete in archery
Students from three local elementary schools will compete in a student archery tournament hosted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
- Kindergarten registrations
Allegations result in principal on leave
New Castle Junior High School principal Robert Razzano is on administrative leave with pay. Meanwhile, New Castle police said they are investigating a reported incident at the junior high involving an employee.
WPIAL Playoffs: If you’re heading to ‘Canes game Saturday — better read this
If you plan on spending the day at the Ambridge field house tomorrow, be prepared to buy an additional ticket. Ambridge athletic officials notified New Castle High athletic director Sam Flora yesterday that they will not be stamping any fans who come into the gym tomorrow.
Larry Kelly: An inside look at ‘The Hurricane Way’
With New Castle’s 85-66 victory over Latrobe High on Saturday at North Allegheny High, the Red Hurricane have now won 74 WPIAL games in a row. As you might expect, the ’Canes are the favorite to win their third consecutive WPIAL championship.
- More New Castle Headlines
- Straw vote favors new band uniforms