New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
Once again, Shawn Anderson is among the best of the best in high school basketball.
Yesterday, the New Castle High senior was named to the Pennsylvania Class AAAA all-state first team as selected by sports writers from across the state. It is the second-straight year he gained all-star honors. He was a Class AAA third-team selection a year ago.
“I really didn’t expect to be on first team. I told my teammates I’d be happy with any award and first team is just icing on the cake,” Anderson said. “To even be in that group is just awesome.”
And what talent that Class AAAA first team contains — all six are NCAA Division-I recruits: Chester’s Rondae Jefferson (Arizona), Lower Merion’s B. J. Johnson (Syracuse), Williamsport’s Jahad Thomas (Temple), Shaler’s Geno Thorpe (Penn State), St. Joseph’s Prep’s Stephen Vasturia (Notre Dame) and Anderson (United States Naval Academy).
“That just shows you how well he played,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said. “To go from earning third-team honors in Class AAA last year to first team in Class AAAA this year — it says he’s just a really good player.”
Anderson finished second in Lawrence County scoring at 20.2 points per game. He averaged 71 percent (120 of 169) at the foul line and made 14 3-pointers. He averaged 3.3 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game.
However, his leadership may have had the biggest impact on the Red Hurricane. The team became the WPIAL’s first basketball program to claim undefeated district titles in back-to-back seasons as well as the first school to win consecutive district titles in different classifications. New Castle moved from Class AAA last season to Class AAAA this year.
“It was a great year. I never look at individual numbers. Down the stretch, Malik (Hooker) was our powerhouse. He started playing at an incredible level. I just happened to outscore him a couple times. Scoring is not everything, though,” Anderson said. “A lot of times, some people may feel that a star player is not a leader. My specialty was leadership. I am blessed to have been able to lead the way I did these last three years.
“To hear younger kids say they want to be like me is nice,” he continued. “I want them to be better than me, though, and do things I couldn’t do, like bring home a state championship.”
New Castle finished the year 29-1. The ’Canes reached the PIAA semifinals, but fell to Lower Merion, 67-63. The Aces claimed PIAA gold with a victory over Chester.
“Nothing could compare to a state championship,” Anderson said. “We didn’t get there. But, no award can compare to the memories and experiences that I created with my teammates. I will hold onto those until I go to the grave.”
Anderson will attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School next fall and continue his basketball career.
“I can’t wait to get there,” he said. “Chris Kinley from Williamsport is going there, too, and we’ve been talking a lot. It’s starting to get real exciting here.”
Other area players on the all-state teams: Hampton’s Ryan Luther and Shaler’s Thorpe (Class AAAA), Montour’s Devin Wilson (Class AAA), Beaver Falls’ Drew Cook and Elijah Cottrill and West Middlesex’s Matthew Dogan (Class AA) and Lincoln Park’s Elijah Minnie and Maverick Rowan (Class A). Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega was named Class AA coach of the year.