Foul trouble is getting to be an ugly habit for the New Castle High School boys basketball team.
Last night, the Red Hurricane survived another foul-fest, using a big third quarter from Nick Colella to shake free of an unbeaten Hampton squad.
Colella recorded 18 of his 23 points in the third quarter as New Castle held on for a 66-59 victory in a nonsection matchup at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House. He sank six field goals in the period, five from 3-point range.
"Nick is a solid basketball player," 'Canes coach John Sarandrea said. "He had an outstanding game tonight.
"I know he's very good, but I'd be a liar if I told you I thought he'd hit six 3-pointers. But I know he's certainly capable of it."
New Castle (3-1) lost Daresse Henderson with 2:01 left in the game to fouls while three others had four at the finish. With 3:54 remaining, three players had four fouls and four had four fouls with 2:17 left.
"It's been like that every game," Sarandrea said. "We need Spencer (Lane) out there and playing.
"It's just so hard playing with four fouls."
New Castle trailed 25-23 at halftime and the Talbots scored the first basket of the third period to finish an 8-0 run going back to 2:11 left in the first half.
However, the 'Canes soon took charge, courtesy of the lethal shooting of Colella.
Anthony Harvey ended the run with a pair of foul shots 46 seconds into the second half and Colella followed that with a trio of 3-pointers to give the 'Canes a 34-27 advantage with 3:51 left in the quarter.
"I just kept hitting them and I kept shooting," Colella said. "Each basket gave me more and more confidence."
Mike Bittner hit a pair of foul shots for Hampton late in the third quarter to close the deficit to 44-35. But Colella launched a 3-pointer from just behind the arc at the buzzer that banked in for a 47-35 buffer.
"When I first put it up, I thought it was going to be a brick," Colella said. "Everything just seemed to be falling for me."
Harvey converted two foul shots less than 30 seconds into the fourth quarter and the 'Canes had a seemingly comfortable 49-35 lead. The advantage reached 14 a second time at 54-40 with 6:11 to go before the Talbots fought back.
Hampton (3-1) put together a 14-2 run to close within 56-54 with 3:07 remaining. New Castle pushed the lead back to four before the Talbots drew to 60-59 with 1:48 left.
"What really made me happy is we didn't fold," Sarandrea said. "We kept pushing the lead back out to three and four. Give the guys credit, they kept battling."
Chris LaRocca hit a big bucket with 1:39 remaining for a 62-59 lead and the Talbots turned the ball over on a traveling violation. After Harvey was whistled for a charge with 1:14 left, the Talbots returned the favor when Colella committed a steal with 56 seconds left. He eventually got fouled and drained a pair of foul shots with 51.4 seconds to go and a 64-59 lead.
Another Hampton turnover with 38 seconds left sealed the victory for the 'Canes.
"We hit some big free throws in the fourth quarter," Sarandrea said. "That's really big.
"This is a quality win against a quality team."
Hampton's last lead was 27-25 early in the third quarter and the two 14-point deficits proved too much to overcome.
"We dug too deep of a hole," Talbots coach and former Westminster College standout Joe Lafko said. "Colella gets a lot of credit for opening the game up.
"New Castle is a very good team and this is a very tough place to play."
Colella was 7 of 11 from the field, including 6 of 7 from behind the arc. Harvey also had 23 points, including 12 in the first quarter. He added six assists and four steals.
New Castle was 21 of 41 from the field compared to 19 of 49 for Hampton.
Asa Braxton paced the Talbots with 16 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter.