New Castle News

Sports

March 20, 2013

Video, Story: ’Canes fans flock to Williamsport by the busload

NEW CASTLE — No matter the drive, Red Hurricane fans showed their pride.

Thousands of New Castle High basketball fans made the 200-mile journey to Williamsport to see their ’Canes attempt to make it to their first state championship game since 1998.  

As the crowd filed in, it was clear that the stands would bleed red and black.

With the exception of a small contingent of Lower Merion fans, the house was full of New Castle faithful who gave their best efforts to cheer the team on.

Laura Matarazzo, 47, was one of many to board the plethora of charter buses that lined areas of New Castle to escort fans to the game.

“I know for sure there were at least five or six charter buses that I saw,” Matarazzo said. “We brought a lot of fans.”

Matarazzo’s son, Johnny, was a member of the team two seasons ago and her daughter, Gabby, is a senior this year.  

“I was a basketball fan in the fact that my son played his junior year. So, we’ve always followed the team. I’m a big Ralph Blundo fan. I think he’s a great coach and he’s done some great things for the community.”

Those riding the buses enjoyed watching movies, talking with friends and enjoying the bounty of available food — anything to make the 3 1/2-hour drive pass.

“Actually, it was kind of quiet. I think a lot of people were just getting ready for the game,” Matarazzo said. “But it was fun. There was a lot of food. You know New Castle, we’re famous for food. There was a lot of food being passed around. It was nice.”

Anna Pascarella, 49, also boarded one of the buses that left from New Castle for Williamsport around 1 p.m.

“We left about 1:20 p.m. from the old Giant Eagle on the east side. Our bus was full. I think the last count I heard was probably 10 (buses) with the student buses as well. That doesn’t include the team bus.”

A 1982 New Castle graduate, Pascarella was taking in the championship run of the 1981-82 team from a student’s perspective. Years later, she’s grown to appreciate the team in a different way.

“I’m looking at it now from a more mature individual,” she said. “I’m taking a lot more in right now and I think I have a better appreciation for the players, the coaches and the time that goes into it.

 “As a youngster, you just don’t think about those things. You just want to go to the game and start cheering and hooting and hollering on the bus, and you do those kind of things. Both are good, it’s just a different perspective.”

Heather Cuscino, 40, boarded the same bus as Pascarella and couldn’t wait for the contest to start.

“I’ve always been a fan of basketball and the team. It’s a very great experience and it’s very humbling,” the 1990 New Castle said.  “I’ve been to every playoff game since the WPIAL started and all the home games throughout the season.”

Another member of the bus brigade, Daresse Henderson, 23, was a 2007 graduate of the school who played for the team. He believed New Castle’s unity this season was its strongest asset.

“I just like that they play together. Blundo, he makes them play with a lot of heart and he’s a good leader for the kids. He teaches them how to be men before basketball players,” he said. “I like the way Malik (Hooker) plays, I like the way Shawn Anderson plays. Each player does their part. There are no egos or anything like that.”

The impact the team has had on the New Castle community was something that impressed Henderson most.

“It’s kind of a big thing. It’s good to see the community support the kids and travel far, far away and show them a lot of support. They’re definitely doing something legendary.”

Other fans decided against riding the bus. Marcee Richardson was one of them. No, she wasn’t worried about feeling crowded or the discomforts that go with riding a bus — she was worried about losing her seat at the game.

“I wanted my seat down front, in the middle, so I can do what I do,” she said. “I came straight here because I didn’t know what the line was going to be like.”

Richardson, another 1982 graduate of the school, is a diehard fan. Not only does she attend every football and basketball game, she makes sure she gets plenty of tickets so her family and friends can go.

“The ticket manager told me I buy more tickets than anybody in New Castle,” she said. “I probably bought 45-50 for this game. Everybody calls me and texts me that they need tickets.”

Most people wouldn’t arrive 2 1/2 hours before a game starts when they have a ticket. Richardson’s pride in her team was reason enough for her.  

“They deserve it.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Aloi.jpg Aloi's PIAA eligibility hearing postponed

    The wait continues for Nick Aloi. Aloi, who transferred from Ellwood City Lincoln High to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School on Jan. 21, still does not know if he will get to play a full season for the Leopards’ basketball team

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers 12-7

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ManzielJersey.jpg Manziel scores as NFL’s top-selling jersey

    Second on Cleveland’s depth chart, Johnny Manziel already tops one NFL list.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Pedro, Steelers' Training Camp and LeBron

    Pedro Alvarez’s throwing woes have not subsided after the All-Star break and he has become a defensive liability, especially late in games.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates.jpg Pirates beat Rockies 5-3 for 3-game sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsbur‘gh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NC_Hoops.jpg Former Lady 'Canes stars reunite for tour of Europe

    Ryenn Micaletti and Abby Allen are headed to Europe. Micaletti and Allen — both members of the 2007 WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball championship team — have joined forces with News Release Basketball to spend nearly three weeks in Germany and Belgium later this summer playing basketball and helping run clinics.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • pickle.tiff Pickleball players return

    Pickleball season is back, but some Neshannock Township residents said have no place to play.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • cutch.tiff Pirates Baseball: Resilient Bucs looking for post All-Star surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day — if still heated — pennant race. A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rankin.jpg High School Basketball: Rankin responds to parents’ complaints at Sharon

    Jason Rankin is in the middle of a coaching controversy in Sharon. Albert Stovall and Tracy Austin questioned the Sharon High boys basketball coach’s strategies during a Sharon City School Board meeting on Monday.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Boosting the Buccos and — yep — LeBron, too

    The final road trip before the All-Star break was a bit of a downer, as the Buccos finished 2-5 in the seven games with the Cardinals and Reds, but no one should feel too bad about where they stand today.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

Shoot For 2
House Ads
Photo of the Day