NEW CASTLE —
A NEW TOURNAMENT
Hampton has won both of its state playoff games by an average of 18.5 points a game. The Talbots reached the quarterfinals with a 67-45 decision over Erie McDowell on Thursday. The game was pushed back a day because of the foul weather that was headed into the region Wednesday.
“I think our team is enjoying playing together,” Lafko said. “We got in some foul trouble in the first half against Erie McDowell.
“In the second half, we were able to continue to play some guys that had to sit. The foul trouble wasn’t an issue as much in the second half.”
The ’Canes have had much tighter outcomes in the state playoffs. New Castle beat Bethel Park, 71-64, in the first round and section foe North Allegheny in the second round, 64-54.
“I think we’re playing well and relaxed,” Blundo said. “We’re playing good, hard-nosed basketball.”
This will be the first time either school has played in Bethel Park’s new gymnasium, which opened in January, 2012. Seating capacity is 2,450 and the game is expected to be sold out. Bethel Park earned the right to host the game after officials representing the Palumbo Center, Sewall Center (Robert Morris), Slippery Rock University and Ambridge all reported their facility wasn’t available for today’s matchup.
“We’re looking forward to playing in a different venue,” Lafko said. “We haven’t played there and I don’t think they have, either. That should be a different scenario for everyone.
“It should be a good game, it’s two very good teams. It’s coming a little earlier than what it has been in recent years because a few years ago we could have met in the western final. This is a great testament to the success of these teams.”
Said Blundo, “Wherever they tell us to play is fine. Both teams have played in big games before. (Today) will be no different.”