NEW CASTLE —
Malik Hooker, a 6-1 senior guard/forward and Ohio State University football recruit, directs New Castle’s arsenal with a county-high 22.2 points a game. He has 1,615 career points as well.
“The kid is a freak athlete,” Dempsey said of Hooker. “It’s an unbelievable accomplishment to play Division I football in college.
“I’m fairly certain he could play basketball. He’s a fierce competitor, a great jumper, and more importantly, he’s a winner and a leader.”
Anthony Richards, a 5-8 senior guard, backs up Hooker’s production at 12.8 markers a matchup. Richards, a West Virginia Wesleyan recruit, has 1,105 career points.
“The best thing about Richards is his accuracy,” Dempsey said. “It’s incredible how he can shoot; he’s not afraid to shoot.
“He can shoot from four or five feet behind the arc. He handles it well and he doesn’t take bad shots.”
Richards has 101 3-pointers on the season and 304 for his career. Both are school records.
Richards joined some elite company in the state quarterfinals when he drained a trio of 3-pointers against Hampton, reaching the elusive club of players with 300 3-pointers made in a career. He became just the fourth player in WPIAL history with at least 300 3-pointers. Highlands’ Micah Mason (2008-2012) leads the way with 346 and Chartiers Valley’s T.J. McConnell (2006-10) is second at 334. Mike Colbert, another Chartiers Valley (1994-98) product rounds out the group with 302. Richards’ four trifectas in the semifinals moved him into third place all-time on the list.
McConnell is currently playing at Arizona for Blackhawk High graduate Sean Miller.
New Castle’s Stew Allen, a 6-3 senior center and Duquesne football recruit, contributes 10.6 points a game. Stew’s twin brother Drew, a 6-0 senior guard, tosses in 10.1 points a game. Drew is a Robert Morris University football recruit.
Stew Allen hit the go-ahead layup on a long pass from Hooker with 35 seconds remaining to put the ’Canes up for good at 55-54.
“Stew is a force inside,” Dempsey said. “He gets his hands on every rebound and he hustles. I’m unbelievably impressed with his play. Who wouldn’t want a 6-3 kid at 220 pounds that plays like he’s 5-11 and would run through walls for the team?
“Everybody tells me Drew Allen has tremendous poise. He’s not afraid to take a big shot. I think he’s the glue of their team; he does a lot of the dirty work and he hits big shots.”