Ron Poniewasz Jr.
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
The next chapter of Lawrence County high school basketball is set to tip off.
Sixteen area teams — eight boys and eight girls — will hit the court Friday night as the 2012-2013 season gets under way.
A county boys team is looking for a repeat. Three new coaches will debut. And milestones could be reached as well.
The New Castle High boys rolled to a 27-1 mark last year, collecting the program’s eighth WPIAL championship along the way. The Red Hurricane moved up to Class AAAA this year and open at 8 p.m. today against Perry Traditional Academy in the New Castle Tip-Off Tournament at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.
’Canes senior Shawn Anderson, a Navy recruit, enters the season with 890 career points.
Scott Dibble is entering his first season as the New Castle girls basketball coach. He’s in his 12th season as coach after a successful stint at Villa Maria Academy which resulted in a 267-55 overall mark, three state titles and three silver medals. Dibble assumed the position after Jason Rankin resigned to take the head boys job at Sharon.
Dibble and the Lady ’Canes will match up against Neshannock at 5 p.m. in the New Castle Tip-Off Tournament at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House. Former New Castle coach Luann Grybowski is the Lady Lancers’ coach. Both teams are a bit short on players, with the Lady ’Canes boasting 11 and the Lady Lancers nine.
A pair of first-year coaches square off on the boys side when Ellwood City Lincoln entertains Laurel at 7:30 p.m. in the Ellwood City Tip-Off Tournament at Ellwood. Ken Locke took over at Laurel for Mike Tinstman and Anthony Ovial replaced Al Campman on the Wolverines’ bench. Both coaches stepped down after last season.
Locke, a 1995 Laurel graduate, has a bit of varsity coaching experience in an interim capacity filling in for Neshannock coach John Corey last year. Ovial, a 2002 Ellwood graduate, coached at New Brighton last year.
The 1,000-point plateau is within reach of Neshannock junior Ernie Burkes as well. Burkes has 619 career tallies. The Lancers battle Shenango at 8 p.m. in the Neshannock Tip-Off Tournament. Union battles Mercyhurst Prep at 6 p.m. in the tournament’s other matchup.
Mohawk meets Beaver at 6 p.m. in the Riverside Tip-Off Classic. Wilmington travels to Jamestown at 7:30 p.m., but that contest isn’t part of a tipoff tournament because an Ohio school pulled out of Jamestown’s tourney.
On the girls side, Ellwood City will be the first county team to hit the floor in either boys or girls action. The Lady Wolverines tangle with Carlynton at 3:30 p.m. in the South Side Beaver Tournament.
Three games pitting county schools will take place in the Lady Warrior Shootout, hosted by Mohawk. Shenango takes on Wilmington in the opener at 5 p.m., followed by Union against Northgate at 6:30 p.m. Mohawk battles Mercer in the finale at 8 p.m.
Laurel takes on Aliquippa at 6 p.m. in the Cornell Tournament.
(In Friday’s newspaper: A profile of three new coaches on Lawrence County’s basketball scene.)