New Castle News

New Castle

February 26, 2013

WPIAL Basketball Semifinals: New Castle and Seneca Valley to meet again

NEW CASTLE — Tomorrow marks the third meeting this season between the New Castle and Seneca Valley high school basketball teams.

It is by far the biggest.

The Red Hurricane battles the Raiders in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals at 7 p.m. at Ambridge High, with the winner playing for the ultimate prize — WPIAL gold — on Saturday.

The teams squared off twice during the Section 3 regular season, with the ’Canes (24-0) posting a pair of wins — 79-45 on the road and 75-52 at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House in the rematch.

“I think when you play a team three times, there’s a familiarity aspect,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “It works both ways.

“Our guys, they get it. They know that basketball is basketball. What you’ve done the first two times is completely insignificant on any given night. They know that Seneca Valley is a good basketball team and we’ll have to play well to win.”

The winner advances to the WPIAL championship game against the survivor of the Hampton-North Allegheny contest at 9 p.m. Saturday at Duquesne University’s A.J. Palumbo Center. The Hampton-North Allegheny matchup is another Section 3 rematch, with the home team winning each time.

The Raiders (17-7) have lost the last three meetings with New Castle, which is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and No. 5 in the state by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

“This is just like a section game,” said Seneca Valley coach Victor Giannotta, who is in his ninth season at the helm. “Neither of us have an advantage, you throw out those first two games and go play.”

HISTORICAL FLAVOR

The ’Canes are gunning for the program’s ninth district championship and second consecutive. Last year, they claimed the Class AAA title over Hampton before both team’s were realigned into Section 3 this year.

But there’s still business to take care of before making reservations for Saturday’s championship game.

“That’s one thing our guys have done well is to stay focused on the task at hand,” Blundo said. “They’ll have to play very well (tomorrow). We need to stay focused on Seneca Valley and only Seneca Valley.”

Seneca Valley is bidding for its first district title in school history. In fact, the Raiders were just 9-39 in Giannotta’s first three years as coach.

New Castle and Seneca Valley clinched PIAA berths with each team’s quarterfinal-round win. The top-seeded ’Canes breezed past two-time defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion Gateway, 87-55. The 12th-seeded Raiders knocked off fourth-seeded Upper St. Clair.

“That was a situation where you lose that one and you lose another opportunity possibly to extend your season,” Blundo said of the quarterfinal contest. “We’re glad to know we’ve clinched that spot and now we’re focused on the next game which is Seneca Valley.”

The Raiders had to grind out a win over the Panthers. Seneca Valley led 6-0 after the first period and 17-10 at the break.

Giannotta, who is assisted by former Laurel head coach Joe Venasco, acknowledged what effect the experience playing against a team like New Castle has on a squad.

“Playing against teams like New Castle, or Hampton or North Allegheny prepares you well for the postseason,” he said. “We played a lot of man-to-man against Upper St. Clair and that helped us in that game.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
New Castle
  • Taggart.jpg Arsonists damage New Castle’s football field

    With the New Castle football team just days away from the start of practice, vandals have hit Taggart Stadium. Someone set fire to artificial turf at the stadium and damaged a blocking sled the team uses in practice.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg New Castle hires information technology director

    The New Castle school district has a new information technology director. At its meeting this week the board hired Emily Sanders of Cranberry Township to fill the position, left vacant by the retirement of Beth Barber.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NC_Hoops.jpg Former Lady 'Canes stars reunite for tour of Europe

    Ryenn Micaletti and Abby Allen are headed to Europe. Micaletti and Allen — both members of the 2007 WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball championship team — have joined forces with News Release Basketball to spend nearly three weeks in Germany and Belgium later this summer playing basketball and helping run clinics.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • High school registration scheduled at New Castle

    Registration has been set for new students in grades seven through 12 moving into the New Castle school district.

    July 15, 2014

  • Police.jpg Couple accused of contacting rape victim

    A man accused of raping a woman at gunpoint allegedly tried to get her to drop the charges.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • festival1.jpg Break out the bubbly

    New Castle may be the Fireworks Capital of America, but Friday night bubbles filled the air.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • wampum1.jpg State title ties: Wampum, New Castle teams celebrate incredible success

    Their spectaular success stories are separated by more than a half century. But they sat side-by-side Thursday morning, sharing more than just breakfast at Jata’s Diner, a familiar meeting spot for former Wampum High School players. 

    July 5, 2014 4 Photos

  • Hooker.tiff Male Athlete of the Year: New Castle's Malik Hooker

    Once in a while, an athlete comes along who redefines the very word. Then, there’s Malik Hooker. The New Castle High graduate took athleticism to a level rarely seen before in the area on the basketball court and on the football turf.

    July 4, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • school.jpg New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty

    The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg District to sell closed schools, contents

    The New Castle school district will advertise for proposals to buy its three just-closed elementary schools.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

Do you talk to yourself when you're alone?

Yes, but I’m basically just thinking out loud.
No, that would be weird.
I don’t know. Next time I’m alone, I’ll ask.
     View Results