New Castle News Story

New Castle boys cruise past Monessen

By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

The New Castle High boys basketball team continues to roll.

The Red Hurricane erupted for 50 firsthalf points en route to a 77-29 nonsection victory over Monessen on Saturday at the Ne-Ca-Hi Field House.

It’s the seventh straight win for the Red Hurricane (9-1). The Greyhounds (5-5), a Class A participant, came in ranked No. 3 in the WPIAL by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in their classification.

“We were pretty good defensively,” said New Castle coach Ralph Blundo. “We made some shots early and really got out of the gate.

“We had a really good lead after the first quarter and we forced them to play faster than they wanted to.”

New Castle was 30 of 47 from the field, including 6 of 19 from behind the arc. Monessen was 12 of 42 from the field and just 2 of 11 from 3-point range.

“A lot of it was we were able to force some turnovers and parlayed that into some easy layups,” Blundo said. “We took some high-percentage shots.”

The ’Canes led 30-9 after one quarter and 50-16 at the half.

Robert Natale notched a game-high 13 points for New Castle. Marquel Hooker chipped in with 12 markers, eight rebounds and five assists. D’Marqus Blanchard delivered 11 points.

Thirteen ’Canes competed in the lopsided win and 11 of them reached the scoring column.

“Every now and then you get an opportunity to get your ninth, 10th and 11th man in the game and we took advantage of that opportunity,” Blundo said. “It’s a good chance to watch them grow.”

Justice Rice recorded 10 points to lead Monessen.

New Castle returns to action at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow when it hosts Section 2AAA foe Ambridge. The ’Canes (4-0 section) follow that up by hosting Beaver Falls at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

New Castle is tied for first with Beaver Falls and the Bridgers (3-1) are right behind.

“This is a huge two-game stretch for us,” Blundo said. “We’re focused on the days of practice and film study; that’s where our mind is right now.

“Ambridge is a really good team. It’s going to be a great challenge for us. It’s probably going to be the best team we’ve played all year.”

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