New Castle News

Sports

April 4, 2012

High School Hoops: ’Canes’ Anderson earns All-State berth

NEW CASTLE — New Castle High boys basketball standout Shawn Anderson took his game up a notch yesterday.

And Anderson didn’t even have to step onto the court to do it.

Anderson was named to the Associated Press Third-Team All-State team, as voted on by media across the state. He was one of several local players nominated for all-state honors by the New Castle News.

“Going into the year, based on his work and growth, we had really strong feelings that he’d have a phenomenal year and he did,” second-year Red Hurricane coach Ralph Blundo said. “His year was a byproduct of tons of hard work that he put in.

“It’s a perfect example of if you do things right, good things will happen for you. This honor is well-deserved for Shawn.”

A 6-foot-3, junior guard who also played forward and center, Anderson netted a team-best 18.8 points a game, to go along with 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest.

“I’m very happy with the award,” Anderson said. “First and foremost, I’d like to thank God. Without Him, I wouldn’t be able to do this.

“I’d like to thank my teammates and coaches. They’re all a big part of this.”

Blundo said Anderson constantly is working to improve his game. Anderson opened the year shooting just over 7 percent from 3-point range. But he finished the year at just over 30 percent from beyond the arc.

“He’s a gym rat, year-round,” Blundo said. “He’s the type of guy that early in the year he’s not shooting well from 3. But he continued working on it and got much better at it.”

Anderson concluded the campaign at 71 percent from inside the arc and 65 percent overall. He also made 76.1 percent of his foul shots.

“You just want to polish every part of your game. Nobody is perfect with anything,” Anderson said. “I’m going to work on my three-point shooting and my ballhandling ability in the offseason.”

New Castle, which finished 27-1 this year, will climb to Class AAAA next season and compete in Section 3 in the WPIAL. Blundo said Anderson will be a vital senior leader for next year’s group.

“Shawn has very natural leadership skills,” Blundo said. “He knows that being a leader is an art.

“He knows what to say and when to say it to kids. That’s not something you can teach to kids. He’s focused on that.”

Cornell, Brown, Lafayette and the Naval Academy all are pursuing Anderson for his academic and basketball talents.

“That’s unbelievably gratifying; that’s some serious recruiting,” Blundo said.

Said Anderson, “I’m not really thinking about it. I want to be patient and take my time with it. There’s no real timetable. The schools are just showing interest right now. I do believe God has a plan.”

John Davis (Neumann-Goretti), Donovon Jack (Berks Catholic), Brendan Kilpatrick (Malvern Prep), Micah Mason (Highlands), Ja'Quan Newton (Neumann-Goretti) and Maurice Watson (Boys Latin Charter) earned first-team status on the Class AAA team.

Montour’s Devin Wilson was a member of the seven-player second team, and Spartans coach Adam Kaufman was the Class AAA coach of the year.

Montour ousted New Castle in the second round of the state playoffs, 50-43 in overtime. The win ended the ’Canes’ 27-game winning streak.

Anderson scored 12 points in the playoff loss to the Spartans.

Watson, who will play collegiately at Boston University, was the triple-A player of the year. He capped his career with 2,356 points, the second-highest total in Philadelphia’s storied basketball history.

The 5-10 Watson averaged 21.8 points a game for Boys Latin Charter (25-7), which lost to eventual PIAA champion Neumann-Goretti in the state semifinals. He surpassed Wilt Chamberlain to finish third on Philadelphia’s all-time scoring list.

Mason, a Drake recruit, is the lone repeat selection on the Class AAA first team.

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