Sheldon Cox

New Castle's Sheldon Cox looks for a teammate during a home game against Moon.

The New Castle High boys basketball team fell from the ranks of the unbeaten Saturday.

The Red Hurricane struggled in the second quarter and couldn’t recover in dropping a 62-56 WPIAL nonsection matchup to Belle Vernon in the Hoops For A Cure event, which was held at North Allegheny High School.

New Castle, ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in Class 5A by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, fell to 12-1.

The ‘Canes led 18-13 after one quarter. However, New Castle was outscored 18-5 in the second period in trailing 31-23 at the half. The ‘Canes cut the deficit to 47-40 going to the fourth period.

New Castle was 2 for 21 from the field in the second quarter, including 0 of 10 from behind the arc. The ‘Canes were 1 of 5 from the foul line as well in that period.

“We outrebounded them, but we couldn’t get the ball in the hoop,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said of the second quarter. “I thought the shot selection was good.”

Sheldon Cox netted 20 points for New Castle and Michael Wells was next with 17.

Cox was 7 of 23 from the field with a team-high 12 rebounds. Wells was 6 of 17 from the floor with nine boards.

New Castle was just 20 of 77 from the field overall.

“We just didn’t shoot well,” Blundo said. “We made some mistakes defensively and we lost to a team that played better than us.

“We’re a very good shooting team. But we didn’t shoot it well around the hoop. It was just one of those nights. Just the night before, we were 13 of 25 from 3 (against Trinity). Basketball is a crazy game. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in.”

Devin Whitlock netted 21 points for Belle Vernon (8-1), a Class 4A team.

The ‘Canes (7-0 section) return to action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to South Fayette (1-2, 4-4) for a Section 2-5A matchup.

“They’re a good basketball team,” Blundo said of South Fayette. “They’re a very underrated basketball team.

“They’re just now getting rolling, because of COVID. They’re big with good guards. It will be a really good, tough road game for us.”

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Sports Writer

Ron Poniewasz Jr. is a sports writer at the New Castle News. Email him at

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