NEW CASTLE —
Ralph Blundo had a dream as a young child.
He wanted to be a Red Hurricane.
“Growing up, being able to put on a jersey that said ‘New Castle’ was the ultimate goal,” the 1991 New Castle High and 1995 Westminster College graduate said. “It meant everything to me and it meant everything to the guys I grew up with. I still remember the first time I stepped out on that floor. It was an honor to run out of the locker room. I tease my wife that when I got my letterman’s jacket in the 11th grade that it was one of the top three days of my life.”
There’s truth in that statement, Blundo’s long-time friend Steve Antuono said.
“We always had a belief that if you were wearing the red and black letterman’s jacket — I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way — that we were a little bit better than everybody else,” Antuono said. “Basketball is all we thought about. It was our focus. We used to look at that WPIAL championship ring that they won in ’82. That’s all we wanted.”
ENTERING THE HALL
Blundo, 41, will join 11 other inductees on May 4 when they enter the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at the New Englander.
“It wasn’t anything that I thought about,” said Blundo, who with his wife Kate are the parents of four children. “I don’t mean that with any disrespect to the hall of fame. When you’re playing, you never think about if you meet the standard of a hall of fame. When they call you and tell you that you have, it’s obviously a great, great honor.”
A DREAM REALIZED
Blundo eventually earned a spot on coach Don Ross’ varsity squad and went from a role player as a junior to star status as a senior.
He ended his senior campaign with by averaging 20.1 points a game and his career with 825 points.
“In the summer of his 10th grade year, Ralph started to develop into a really good basketball player,” Antuono said. “He became our go-to guy. We ran multiple plays for Ralph and he’d get others involved.
“He developed a little mid-range 10-footer. It’s kind of a lost art. He’d dribble drive and then pull up to hit that 10-, 11-footer pretty consistently. That mid-range jumper was his bread and butter.”