NEW CASTLE —
FRIENDS FOR LIFE
Best friends remember when they first met. The ’Canes players are no different. Keeping with a humorous theme, the boys looked back fondly on their origins.
“We knew all these guys from a young age playing basketball,” Rudolph said. “I didn’t know Shawn until sixth grade in football season when North Hill played Central. Brandon was our quarterback and threw about a 40-yard pass. I just burned Shawn and scored a touchdown.”
“The first people on the team I met were Stew and Drew. I met Stew because he was having a tough time with some kid on the football field,” junior forward Malik Hooker said with a smile. “Drew laughs, but he was watching him do it and wasn’t helping his brother.”
Anderson was eager to give a good-natured ribbing to Domenick because of his 5-foot-9 stature. After all, based on how they met, Anderson believes he had it coming.
“I moved to Arizona for two years. When I came back, I tried out for the sixth-grade basketball team. I came into practice, and we were scrimmaging. I go to make a move, and I get elbowed in the rib cage by a 4-2 little kid. I turn around and all my friends go, ‘yeah, that’s Brandon, that’s the kid we’ve been telling you about,’ ”Anderson chuckled. “So we didn’t start off on the right foot, but I ended up being on the team, and we ended up being great friends.”
New Castle’s success has given the team a certain amount of celebrity in the community, one it fully embraces.
“I think we give the community something to be proud of at New Castle and something to look forward to every Tuesday and Friday night,” Salzano said. “Last week, we went on a spirit march to George Washington with fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. To see all those younger kids screaming for us and yelling for us, it’s really a great feeling.”
“It’s nice to be appreciated by so many people. You go to places and everybody is like ‘you play for the New Castle basketball team don’t you?’ They just sit there and talk to you and it’s the best feeling in the world,” Stew Allen said. “Like coach Blundo says, he comes to practice every day and tells us how his kids want to be just like Stew Allen or Brandon Domenick. It’s just a great feeling.”