New Castle wins 2nd straight WPIAL championship
By Chris Harlan
Published: Saturday, March 2, 2013, 11:15 p.m.
The classification had changed but the outcome hadn't.
New Castle again finished undefeated and won its second consecutive WPIAL boys basketball title over Hampton, this time in Class AAAA with a 68-53 victory Saturday night at sold out Palumbo Center.
A season ago, New Castle won the Class AAA title over Hampton.
The Red Hurricanes (26-0) are the first team to win WPIAL championships in successive seasons with an undefeated record.
“It's a huge accomplishment. It really hasn't sunk in yet,” junior Anthony Richards said.
“But being a kid in New Castle, this is exactly what you dream of. This is what we work for our whole lives.”
Three consecutive 3-pointers by Richards in an 80-second span of the second quarter helped launch New Castle to victory.
His first turned a one-point lead into four. The third gave New Castle a 25-18 lead with 5:10 left before halftime.
Two more 3-pointers, by Brandon Domenick and Shawn Anderson, pushed the Red Hurricanes' lead into double figures.
They finished the first half with an 11-2 run and led, 36-22, at halftime.
“To beat New Castle you have to do things well in all facets, otherwise they'll find that weakness and exploit it,” Hampton coach Joe Lafko said. “... We were battling in the game with New Castle, but we lost track of shooters sometimes.”
The gap reached 20 points late in the third when a 3-pointer by Rudolph with 10 seconds left gave New Castle a 52-32 lead. The senior was playing with an hurt ankle.
“To gut it out and make big shots like he did was really special,” Blundo said.
Rudolph scored 15 points for No. 1 seed New Castle, Anderson had 16, Richards had 12 and Malik Hooker added 11.
Ryan Luther had 17 points for No. 3 Hampton (21-5), which was making its fourth Palumbo Center trip in the past five seasons.
The WPIAL title was the ninth for New Castle, which beat Hampton, 57-44, in last year's title game.
“You don't ever think of things like that, to go from Triple-A to Quad-A and do it all over again,” New Castle coach Ralph Blundo said.
“It speaks volumes about the kind of players I have.”
Three-point shooting has been a strength for New Castle, which made 230 this season.
The Red Hurricanes made seven of their first 14 from 3-point range against Hampton, including four first-half threes by Richards.
“That had to happen against them because they're so long inside,” Blundo said.
“We had to extend them out.”
New Castle knew from experience having already played Hampton twice this season as Section 3 rivals.
The Red Hurricanes also won both regular-season meetings: 75-54 on Jan. 15 and 54-50 on Feb. 8.
“The New Castle community is very proud of their basketball team and they should be,” Lafko said.
“This team does some special things on the court.”
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alle-Kiski high school basketball notebook: Miller’s return boosts strong Knoch lineup
- High school roundup: Bethel Park edges USC in Section 4 opener
- Norwin uses early-season experience to rout Latrobe
- Seton-La Salle’s Clancy off to soaring start after 44-point performance
- A-K Valley girls basketball teams struggling to score points
- Greensburg roundup: Burns scores 34 to lead Hempfield past Connellsville
- Belle Vernon’s defense stymies Ringgold, 47-31