NEW CASTLE —
The New Castle High boys basketball team nailed down the WPIAL’s top seed for a third straight year last night.
Now the Red Hurricane is set to embark on a quest at capturing a third-straight district championship.
New Castle (22-0) breezed to a third-consecutive undefeated run in the regular season, garnering the top seed in the Class AAAA playoffs when the brackets were released at the pairings meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel. The ’Canes will battle 16th-seeded Latrobe (12-9) at noon Saturday at North Allegheny.
“Obviously, we earned that No. 1 seed and I’m proud of my guys for doing that,” ’Canes coach Ralph Blundo said. “I think the higher the seed you get, you increase your opportunities of doing something special.
“It’s difficult to stay that consistent. We’ve worked really, really hard. I really can’t speak to how we haven’t slipped up somewhere along the way. I think it’s just great leadership and great focus.”
New Castle is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class AAAA by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and No. 2 in the state by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
The WPIAL honored the strength of the Section 3-AAAA play by issuing Hampton the No. 2 seed and North Allegheny the No. 3 spot. It’s the second-straight year three teams from New Castle’s Quad-A section earned the top three seeds.
Neshannock (17-5) received good news when the district issued the squad a No. 5 seed and a first-round bye in the Class AA bracket. Two narrow wins over two-time defending WPIAL champion and last year’s state victor Beaver Falls were a big key in the Lancers’ high seed.
“I think that overall our section (2-AA) was given a lot of respect,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “I think that explains why we got the bye.
“It’s a great spot for us to be in. The respect of our section and our wins over Beaver Falls, all that comes into play. I’m very happy about the positioning. The seed is great. The bye is great. But it all comes down to it’s that time of year and you have to win games.”
Neshannock will battle the winner of Saturday’s Shady Side Academy-Northgate matchup Wednesday. The winner of Saturday’s contest will receive the No. 12 seed.