New Castle News

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March 28, 2014

Photos, Video, Story: Hundreds flock to downtown to salute ’Canes

NEW CASTLE — For the first time all year, it rained on the Red Hurricane’s parade.

But just as they did during a 31-0 season that included a third straight WPIAL title and a first-ever state championship, the ’Canes and their fans weren’t about to let a little adversity stop them.

Despite an early-evening spring shower, hundreds of residents gathered downtown last night to watch the New Castle High boys basketball team — accompanied by the school’s band and cheerleaders, as well as city police and fire units — parade down East Washington Street to Kennedy Square.

The ’Canes, who were tossing Hershey Kisses to the crowd from the back of a Castle Towing flatbed, then joined head coach Ralph Blundo up on stage to officially celebrate their PIAA Class AAAA crown with the community that they say helped them win it.

“You see these guys up here?” Blundo asked. “Yeah, they won a state title, there’s no question. But the reality is that we — WE, the city of New Castle — won the state championship this weekend. All of you won the state championship this weekend, and it was unbelievably special to be out there.

“This does not happen anywhere else. We are the absolute envy of every other school in the state of Pennsylvania because of you guys; not because we’re really good at basketball. It’s because nobody during that state championship walked out onto that floor and saw a sea of black. Five thousand people — are you kidding me? — driving that far to Hershey to watch this team play? It was just an unbelievable experience for all of us.”

Attorney Larry Kelly, master of ceremonies, echoed those feelings, asking, “How many people would stand in the rain in 40 degrees to come and celebrate this wonderful event?”

New Castle Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo also spoke briefly, thanking the team for a great season, which he called “an accomplishment that will stand for a long time.”

It also was, as some fans who have followed the ’Canes for years attested, a long time in coming.

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