New Castle News


May 12, 2014

’Canes’ Alumni Game: Youngbloods top Old School, but all had ‘a good time’

NEW CASTLE — Saturday was a celebration of basketball at New Castle High School.

The New Castle Basketball Boosters’ inaugural WPIAL Champions Challenge Alumni Game served as a big reunion for some of the Red Hurricane’s top players. Players from the 1982, ’93, ’97, ’98 and ’99 WPIAL championship squads took on a team of recent players who were part of the 2012 and ’13 WPIAL title squads as well as this year’s WPIAL and PIAA championship team.

“It was so much fun, with all the guys coming back and for my guys to see them,” said current New Castle head coach Ralph Blundo. “Really, to give these guys who did so much for this program so many years ago the opportunity to step on the floor one more time to the cheers and the pep band at the New Castle Field House, it was just special for them.”

The young guys, who started all five regulars from this year’s state championship squad in Malik Hooker, Drew Allen, Stew Allen, Anthony Richards and Jake McPhatter, posted a 116-99 victory.

“It was fun. I had a lot of fun and that was the whole purpose of the game,” said David Young, who helped guide New Castle to WPIAL titles in ’97, ’98 and ’99. “It was nice to get out there with all the former champions. It was nice for the fans to see the old players against the current players. It was a good time.”

Young, New Castle’s all-time leading scorer, led all players with 42 points in the loss.

“It was great to see everybody, especially Dave Young because he’s like my big brother. Just being on the court with him was a lot of fun,” said Malik Hooker, who scored 21 points for the young team. “I figured out a long time ago he could still play when we were playing down at the Y one day. I knew coming in that we were going to have to be competitive because he wasn’t going to come here and go down easy.”

A Seattle SuperSonics 2004 second-round draft choice, Young enjoyed a successful eight-year overseas professional career. He’s looking to give back to the community now by scheduling individual basketball training sessions.

“He’s the greatest ever to play here and he proved that again,” Blundo said. “He’s still a tremendous, tremendous basketball player. And he is such class. He is a great reflection and ambassador for our program. It was a nice night for everybody.”

Russell Bruce, who played on the ’82 WPIAL championship squad and is now an engineer for Sysco, traveled from Atlanta to take part in the game.

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world. It’s always nice to be home. These young guys reminded me that I’ll be 50 this year,” he said with a laugh. “It was a great experience. I really wanted to come out and congratulate the guys in person because I didn’t get a chance to see them play during the season, but I followed them online and watched them online with streaming video as well. I got a chance to congratulate them and play with them, so it was nice.”

Brian Rice, a 1987 New Castle graduate who coached seventh grade basketball for the ’Canes this year, had 11 points in the loss. He made headlines last year when he joined Geneva College’s basketball team as a 43-year-old freshman after serving in the Navy for more than two decades.

“This game was a great thing. It was a good type of camaraderie,” he said. “It was great seeing a lot of old friends and a lot of old classmates and cheerleaders.”

Jason Rankin, who played on the ’82 team and coached many more WPIAL boys and girls title squads at New Castle, was happy to take part.

“It was nice to honor the guys who finally got it done. Over the years, we came a step short here and there. We got to see how good they really were. They were like lightning up and down the floor. It was a great event for everybody,” said Rankin, who is the Sharon boys head coach. “Unfortunately, I saw them last year and they put it on us pretty good that night. You see what you want to do, but you just can’t physically do it anymore. Against the players of this quality and caliber, it’s just a different game.”

Hooker, who had a handful of dunks, was honored to take part in the event.

“That was probably the most fun I had in a while. Being out there with all the greats of New Castle and competing and having fun at the same time, it was a great feeling,” he said. “It’s like a big family reunion. You get to come back and see everybody that graduated and have good laughs and talk about memories.”

Richards, who became the program’s all-time 3-point leader this season, finished with nine treys and 27 points in the win.

“There were just so many great players,” said Blundo, who coached the older guys on Saturday. “I was sitting there and watching 3 after 3 going in and I thought, ‘Wow this is what other teams felt like all year long.’ The guys I was coaching were equally as great, but just older. Father Time gets you at some point. It was just awesome to see everyone though.”

Players on the older team included Pat Cain, Jason Doneluck, Sam Flora Jr., Floyd Jackson, Mark Jackson, Bob “Horse” Natale, Eddie Pagley, Jimmy Roe, Justin Walker, Barry Whetzel, Jason Zarilla, Evan Tinstman, Young, Rankin, Rice and Bruce and coaches Don Ross and Blundo. The younger team included Shawn Anderson, Jermaine Cuffie, Brandon Domenick, Corey Eggleston, Antonio Rudolph, Levar Ware, Tyler Fitzpatrick, Drew Allen, Stew Allen, Hooker, McPhatter and Richards and coaches John Sarandrea and Connie Palumbo.

(To view a photo gallery from the game, CLICK HERE.)


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

  • DROWN.jpg Local teen drowns in Slippery Rock Creek

    Divers from several fire departments responded yesterday to a drowning in the Kennedy Mill area of Slippery Rock Creek. Reports from the scene indicated that two teenage males from the Ellwood-Wampum area had gone swimming in the creek, and that one had gone under and not resurfaced.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results